Lewis Hamilton: “I need to be on pole to limit the loss”

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

After successful Turkish Grand Prix Friday’s free practice 1 and 2, Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas give their first comments on the sessions.

Lewis Hamilton has topped both Friday’s free practice sessions, however, he is set to take a ten-place grid penalty in the race due to an engine swap.

Nevertheless the Briton is happy with how the weekend started.

“We have just started off with a really good setup,” Hamilton told Sky Sports.

“The first session was really strong. The track is evolving, and it’s feeling different when you get into the second session. We made some changes, which were OK.

“I’m not sure it felt as good as it did in the first session, in the second session. We’ve got lots of good findings, so we’ll hopefully take those forward with us.

“I think I’ll be able to find a little bit over tonight and hopefully into tomorrow, if it’s not raining. Then I have a lot of work to do on Sunday.

“Either way, whatever the case, I’m just gonna try and focus on how I can get the best out of it.”

However, Lewis is aware that he needs to qualify on pole if he wants to minimise the damage of the penalty.

“I need to be on pole to limit the loss and then, of course, you need to understand the car to be able to do the best in terms of the long run.

“It’s just trying to find the right balance. It’s not really different, I would say, to any other weekend.”

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The Istanbul Park track has been resurfaced since last year to combat the lack of grip that the drivers reported. Hamilton was also happy with the improvements done to the circuit.

“Last year was a brand new surface and I think the oil came up from the bitumen, or whatever it is, and they cleaned it off.

“I didn’t really know what to expect when we went out there today, but geez, [there’s] so much more grip than we’ve ever had before. It’s intense, how much grip there is out there, which is awesome.

“It made it much, much more enjoyable track to drive, much more like it was before,” concluded the seven-time champion.

His team-mate Valtteri Bottas wasn’t as successful on Friday, he finished FP1 in P4 and FP2 in P3. However, the Finn is also happy with the work done to the track’s surface.

“It was a lot faster, I think it was over 10 seconds faster than last year in FP1,” Bottas said.

“Now there’s proper grip, and I think it is one of the grippiest tracks we have in the calendar, so that obviously makes the track more fun.

“We could take a different approach with the car set-up compared to last year, because of that, and we had to react and adjust quite a bit during the day, so I enjoyed it.

“In FP2 the feeling was actually pretty good, no big issues with the car, so I feel this could be a strong weekend for us,” Valtteri concluded.

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