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Bottas “goes all out” for Turkey F1 pole, not asked to help Hamilton

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Bottas will start Sunday’s race from pole position due to his Mercedes team-mate penalty on the grid for taking a fourth engine of the season before the start of debates in Istanbul this weekend.

He finished 0.13 seconds off Hamilton’s fastest time in Q3, with Bottas having completed just the two throwing laps typical of this segment, while Hamilton completed three tries – his second effort producing the fastest qualifying time (and another new track record in Istanbul).

Bottas was 0.005 seconds ahead of Hamilton’s fastest lap after two-thirds of his final Q3 leaflet was completed, but a slow final sector – where the Finn slipped deep into the hairpin to the left of Turn 12 at the end of the main Istanbul straight – meant he lost.

When asked if the late loss of time was part of a plan to ensure Hamilton qualifies in the lead and therefore starts 11th and not 12th in the Grand Prix, Bottas, who was speaking at the conference post-qualifying press said: “No, I wasn’t asked to slow down and I was definitely going.

“I started to have a bit of trouble with the front end in the last sector so I just had a little understeer in turns 12 and 14.

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12

Photo By: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

“I could feel I was wasting a little bit of time – I probably used the tires a bit earlier in the lap. So yes, I was going all the way, that’s for sure.

Bottas also said the way qualifying went for Mercedes was “ideal” and “in a way perfect” because of “the situation we have with the Lewis penalty”.

He added: “But the session itself – the Q1 was tough with the wet conditions and to be honest even at the end of Q3 there were still a few spots where there were little wet spots and you had to be a little careful finding the best way to get around them.

“But I enjoyed it. The level of grip was still decent and since the start of the weekend the car has been in a pretty good window in terms of settings.

“So I didn’t need to make massive changes. I liked that.”

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