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Lewis Hamilton says he is not making concessions to his grid penalty as he approaches qualifying for the Turkish Grand Prix.
The Mercedes driver will start 10 places less than he qualifies for this weekend’s race as a penalty for exceeding his maximum engine allowance.
After spearheading the two practice sessions on Friday, Hamilton said he will move closer to qualifying as usual to start as close to the front as possible after his penalty.
“I need to be on pole to limit defeat,” he said. “And then of course I need to understand the car so that I can make it the best it can be in terms of the long term.
“So I’m just trying to find the right balance. It’s not a real difference, I’d say, from any other weekend. “
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc beat two tenths of a second off Hamilton’s fastest time in the afternoon session. Hamilton suspects they’ll put up a tough fight Sunday as he tries to move across the field.
“They are going to be difficult to pass,” he said. Like Renault and McLaren. They seem to be getting better and better throughout the year.
“I don’t know where that comes from, if they will bring updates, I don’t know, it’s not really my focus. But it’s good to see them get stronger and I hope they will be strong next year ”.
Hamilton broke the 16-year-old track record in the first practice session at Istanbul Park. The track surface is “very, very different” compared to last year and gives the drivers more grip like they had in their previous race in 2011, Hamilton said.
“Last year it was a completely new surface and I think the oil came out of the bitumen or whatever. It was supposedly cleaned earlier so I really didn’t know what to expect when we went out today.
“But wow, there’s so much more grip than ever before. The grip out there is intense, which is incredible. So it has made it much, much more enjoyable to drive, much more like before. “
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2021 Turkish Grand Prix
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