Lewis Hamilton insists he ‘doesn’t care’ about missing out on pole stat at Turkish GP

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Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton claims he “doesn’t care” about missing out on being credited for his 102nd pole position, despite raising questions to the FIA and F1 regarding it. Hamilton stormed to another pole position in Turkey as he dominated the qualifying session on Saturday over his team-mate Valtteri Bottas and main title rival Max Verstappen in Istanbul.

Yet, coming into the session, Hamilton carried a 10-place grid penalty after Mercedes changed his internal combustion engine [ICE] ahead of Friday’s practice sessions.

It means the seven-time world champion starts from just outside the top ten in 11th as he looks to extend his lead at the top of the standings over Red Bull’s Verstappen.

Speaking after setting the fastest time, Hamilton replied: “Well, I still… I get recorded the pole, right? No? Ah, dammit.”

Hamilton, who was seen smiling and waving to the fans despite a hefty penalty, was pushed on if he believed the FIA and F1 needed to make changes to the rules. 

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He added: “I don’t really know. I mean, I got pole.

“I don’t think the penalty should affect that necessarily but I don’t really care, to be honest.”

It’s the second time this season pole position has brought up question marks, with the fastest driver during sprint qualifying being only referred to as quickest, with no pole position added to the record books.

The setback means Bottas inherits pole position for Mercedes, hoping to hold back Verstappen for a long as possible at the start of the race, to give Hamilton time to carve his way through the field and challenge for the win.

Bottas also added his thoughts on what the FIA and F1 should do, especially if they continue with more sprint weekend formats from next year onwards.

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“I think on the sprint weekends, definitely, the fastest in qualifying should be handed the official pole award and pole position for records, and also in a situation like this, Lewis had the fastest single lap,” said Bottas.

“He was technically on pole but then after he is dropped so… I don’t think it’s really fair but obviously I will happily still take the tyre [the trophy awarded by Pirelli for pole] but maybe next time it will be completely different.”

Offering the tyre, given to Bottas, Hamilton said: “I signed it. You can have it.”

Verstappen meanwhile struggled with understeer on Friday during first and second practice, and was heard complaining on the radio of the car snapping on the exit of corners.

Despite having an advantage over Hamilton, Red Bull boss Christian Horner admitted the championship leader looked particularly dominant this weekend.

“Lewis is looking probably the quickest he’s looked all year here,” Horner told Sky Sports F1. “The Mercedes is hooked up around here, it’s working well on this asphalt circuit and it’s gonna be coming through pretty quick. 

“So yeah, we’ve just got to focus on our own race, get the strategy right, reliability, all those factors and see how we pan out.”

The race gets underway at 1pm, with Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz and McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo starting from the back of the grid due to changed power units.

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