Lance Stroll took a sensational pole position for the Turkish Grand Prix, a race which could see Lewis Hamilton crowned world champion for the seventh time.

Mercedes driver Hamilton leads Valtteri Bottas by 85 points with four rounds left and will equal Michael Schumacher's record of drivers' titles unless his team-mate scores at least eight points more than him on Sunday.

A thrilling wet qualifying session on Saturday has set the stage for an unpredictable race, where cold conditions and a resurfaced track could continue to trouble the drivers, while further showers are possible.

Istanbul Park is hosting its first grand prix since 2011 and on the evidence of the race weekend so far, the long wait has been worth it.

WHAT HAPPENED IN QUALIFYING

After establishing himself as the man to beat on Friday, Max Verstappen looked superb again on Saturday, topping FP3, Q1 and Q2 despite extreme wet conditions and two red flags at the start of qualifying.

But Racing Point made the inspired early call to switch to intermediate tyres in Q3 and saw Sergio Perez move into provisional pole, prompting most of the top 10 to frantically change from the full wets.

Stroll then produced an even better time than his team-mate and, while a scrambling Verstappen nudged himself back above Perez, he was 0.290 seconds behind the Canadian, who claimed his country's first pole since Jacques Villeneuve 23 years ago.

Mercedes struggled and saw their hopes of claiming pole at every race this season ended. Hamilton was sixth, 4.795s off the pace, but in a positive for his title hopes Bottas was even further behind (5.493s) in ninth.

THE STARTING GRID 

1. Lance Stroll (Racing Point), 2. Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
3. Sergio Perez (Racing Point), 4. Alex Albon (Red Bull)
5. Daniel Ricciardo (Renault), 6. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
7. Esteban Ocon (Renault), 8. Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo)
9. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes), 10. Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo) 
11. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari), 12. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
13. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri), 14. Kevin Magnussen (Haas)
15. Lando Norris (McLaren), 16. Carlos Sainz (McLaren)
17. Daniil Kvyat (AlphaTauri),18. Romain Grosjean (Haas)
19. Nicholas Latifi (Williams), 20. George Russell (Williams)

ISTANBUL TALKING POINTS

Hamilton has cut a frustrated figure with his Mercedes struggling in icy Friday conditions and again in the wet Saturday sessions, but he looks to be in a strong position to get the title wrapped up this weekend.

Racing Point will be dreaming big after getting two drivers in the top three and will hope for further showers allow them to remain near the front. 

Pole gave Stroll – who was relieved to keep the position after a nervous trip to the stewards – a remarkable boost after not scoring a point for five races, one of which he missed having contracted coronavirus.

But Verstappen has been the man to beat all weekend and, while initially frustrated after qualifying, he will realise he is in prime position to land a second win of the season that would give him big momentum going into 2021.

Under-pressure Albon has an opportunity to collect just his second podium, while in-form Ricciardo is eyeing his third top-three finish in the space of four grands prix.

A decade to the day of his first world title win in 2010, Vettel missed Q3 for the 10th straight occasion. Ferrari were disappointed in qualifying after looking particularly strong on Friday, but grid penalties for the two McLaren cars mean the German starts 11th with Leclerc in 12th, providing a chance for meaningful points.

WHAT THE DRIVERS SAID

Lance Stroll (pole): "It was such a crazy session – it's been a crazy day since this morning. I haven't scored a point since my podium in Monza, it's been a rough run just with incidents, COVID and so much going on. But to bounce back like this and put it on pole position is very special for me. I heard there was a chance of rain at the start of the race, so we'll see what happens. That could mix things up."

Max Verstappen (2nd): "This is the first time this year I sit here upset. I think that says it all. It was all going quite well on the wet tyres and in Q3 I was not very sure to go on inters because I felt really comfortable on the extreme [wet] tyres. The whole weekend we were first, it looked very comfortable, and then you lose out in Q3. So at the end of the day I don't care where the Mercedes is."

Sergio Perez (3rd): "I was unlucky with my final lap [and could have got pole] but it is a great result for the team and hopefully we can make it into a lot of points for us. I definitely prefer P3 [on the racing line] than P2 - at the start that will be a good difference."

Lewis Hamilton (6th): "We tried our hardest and did the best we could – that was the fastest we could go. The track feels terrible, it's just like driving on ice. I've got no idea what car I've got underneath me for Sunday. We made some set up changes [after Friday practice] and then it's been wet. If it's dry I have no idea how it's going to feel and if it's wet then I know it could feel as bad as Saturday."

Kimi Raikkonen (8th): "In the morning we struggled like crazy but we tried to make some changes and decided to do some laps in FP3 even if it was awful conditions and I think it helped a bit in the qualifying. In dry conditions we definitely wouldn't have been this high up [eighth and 10th]."

Charles Leclerc (12th): "I have no explanations, absolutely no explanations. With heavy rain in FP3 this morning, we were competitive – probably one of the fastest cars out on track. [In qualifying] we are not speaking a few tenths, we are six seconds off which is absolutely huge. I have no explanations for that. We need to understand what we are doing wrong in the rain. I hope it is going to be dry on Sunday."

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Drivers

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – 282
2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) – 197
3. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) – 162
4. Daniel Ricciardo (Renault) – 95
5. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) – 85

Constructors

1. Mercedes – 479
2. Red Bull – 226
3. Renault – 135
4. McLaren – 134
5. Racing Point – 134 (after 15-point deduction)

Lewis Hamilton insists his qualifying position of sixth for the Turkish Grand Prix is an improvement and stated "this track feels terrible" after another difficult session for Mercedes.

The Briton will start Sunday's race in sixth, three places ahead of team-mate Valtteri Bottas who he needs to avoid being outscored by eight points to clinch a record-equalling seventh Formula One world title.

Lance Stroll instead took a shock pole as Mercedes saw an end to a qualifying dominance that had seen one of their drivers start from first place in each of the previous 13 races this season.

On Friday, Hamilton described the Istanbul Park track as like an "ice rink" during a tough day of practice and was content with his qualifying performance.

Speaking to Sky Sports, he said: "Have you not been watching all weekend? I was 20th before this, so this is an improvement!

"There isn't any grip at all. I don't really know what to say. We did the best we could and that was the fastest we could go. The track feels terrible, it feels like driving on ice.

"For whatever reason, some people can get the tyres going a little better than us. Ultimately, we are all struggling out there, but some are better than others.

"I did the best I could, I didn't spin and I didn't really make any mistakes, so I'm generally happy. I did everything I could with what I had."

The wet conditions in Turkey did little to aid the Mercedes cause, something Bottas alluded to after qualifying.

"Getting the tyres to work, and getting heat into the tyres has been the story of the weekend so far," said Bottas. "And even worse in the wet today.

"We tried everything we could but in the end, when we went for the intermediates in Q3 we only had two laps left and that was never going to be enough to create enough tyre temperature.

"Other teams are doing a better job in that area."

Stroll was called to speak with race stewards after qualifying, with all Q1 laps being reviewed due to the yellow flags which were out towards the end of the session, leaving the possibility of changes to the result.

Lance Stroll claimed the first pole position of his Formula One career in a stunning upset in wet conditions at the Turkish Grand Prix, ending Mercedes' dominance in qualifying this year. 

Racing Point driver Stroll edged out Max Verstappen by 0.290 seconds after the Red Bull man had been fastest all weekend, topping every practice session as well as Q1 and Q2. 

Sergio Perez was third after holding provisional pole until the final seconds of a thrilling Q3, while Alex Albon and Daniel Ricciardo rounded out the top five. 

Mercedes had taken pole in all 13 races in 2020 - and 14 in a row dating back to last season - but Lewis Hamilton had to settle for sixth on the weekend he could win the world championship, with Valtteri Bottas coming ninth. 

Lewis Hamilton labelled Friday practice at the Turkish Grand Prix as "a disaster" and like driving on an ice rink after Max Verstappen emerged from both sessions in first place amid testing conditions.

Cold temperatures and a recently resurfaced track combined to produce multiple spins in FP1 to begin the first grand prix weekend at Istanbul Park since 2011.

Verstappen topped the opening session ahead of team-mate Alex Albon as the Red Bull appeared to adapt best, with Charles Leclerc in third.

FP2 saw the track improve as drivers recorded significantly quicker times, with leading laps more than seven seconds faster, though once again it was Verstappen who came out on top.

The Dutchman was 0.401 seconds clear of the pack as Leclerc took an impressive second for Ferrari, with Valtteri Bottas, Hamilton and Albon rounding out the top five.

Hamilton was 0.850s slower than Verstappen and knows he has work to do ahead of a weekend where he has the chance to win a record-equalling seventh drivers' championship.

"It was a bit of a disaster, to be honest," said Hamilton. 

"It's like an ice rink out there so you don't get quite the enjoyment of the lap you would normally get from Istanbul. I don't see that changing.

"The track is worse than Portimao was when we had the new surface there, so for us at least, the tyres aren't working, and you see it.

"It is terrifying the whole way around, it is almost like there are wet patches all over, so you are on your slicks and accelerating and then [like a snap] it goes so fast, and that is because you are way, way below the temperature window of these tyres.

"If the tyres aren't working, you don't know what the balance issues are. It's literally just tyres, but other people are starting to get them to work.

"Obviously the Red Bulls are doing really well with it and we've definitely got some work to do to figure out what we can change. We just have to try and do the best job we can."

Mercedes have claimed pole at every race this season, though, and Verstappen expects them to bounce back in qualifying.

"For sure, Mercedes will get it together on Saturday," Verstappen said.

"But overall for us it was quite a positive day, the car was working quite well, so pretty happy with that.

"Very positive [result]. It means the prep we did to get here was not bad, and also reacting to the conditions, we have done that well already in FP1, so I just hope that we can have a competitive qualifying.

"Even in FP2, it's still very low grip. We are still miles off [normal levels of grip], it's still like driving on ice."

Hamilton has won three straight races and leads team-mate Bottas by 85 points with four events left and a maximum of 104 points up for grabs, a figure which will be 78 after the race on Sunday.

Max Verstappen topped both Friday practice sessions amid testing conditions at the return of the Turkish Grand Prix.

Cold temperatures and a recently resurfaced track combined to make Verstappen compare the experience to "driving on ice" on team radio.

The slippery surface caused multiple spins for the likes of Verstappen, Valtteri Bottas and Pierre Gasly in the opening session of the first grand prix weekend at Istanbul Park since 2011.

Verstappen finished on top ahead of team-mate Alex Albon as the Red Bull appeared to adapt best, with Charles Leclerc in third.

FP2 saw the track improve as drivers recorded significantly quicker times, with leading laps more than seven seconds faster, though once again it was Verstappen who came out on top.

The Dutchman was 0.401 seconds clear of the pack as Leclerc took an impressive second for Ferrari, with Bottas, Lewis Hamilton and Albon rounding out the top five.

Hamilton, who was 0.850s slower than Verstappen, has the chance to win a record-equalling seventh drivers' championship this weekend.

The Briton has won three straight races and leads Mercedes team-mate Bottas by 85 points with four events left and a maximum of 104 points up for grabs, a figure which will be 78 after the race on Sunday.

As Red Bull, Ferrari and AlphaTauri impressed, it was a difficult day Renault, Racing Point and McLaren, who saw Carlos Sainz suffer an electrical issue.

Valtteri Bottas felt "unlucky" to have missed out on victory to Lewis Hamilton again after starting a chaotic Emilia Romagna Grand Prix from pole position.

Bottas was unable to improve his poor conversion rate from the front spot on the grid, as Hamilton extended his lead over the Finn to 85 points with four races to go.

Hamilton slipped from second to third behind Max Verstappen at the start, but the runaway Formula One championship leader put the hammer down at the front when he was kept out for a long opening stint on medium tyres.

Bottas was leading when he pitted just after Verstappen, both having hard compounds fitted, and Hamilton built up a big lead before a virtual safety car was deployed.

That made it very much advantage to the six-time F1 world champion, who took the chance to pit and secured victory ahead of Bottas following a restart with six laps to complete, after a late safety car was required when Verstappen spun off with a puncture.

Bottas' car suffered floor damage from debris on the Imola track, but he was able to secure second place after Verstappen's misfortune as the Silver Arrows wrapped up a record seventh consecutive constructors' title.

With Hamilton on the brink of winning a record-equalling seventh drivers' title, Bottas was left to reflect on what might have been, and he now has just five wins from 15 poles.

Bottas said: "I think [the damage to his car] made quite a big impact today. The start was good, that was one of the main things to get right today.

"Out of Turn Seven there was the debris, I didn't have time to avoid it - I saw it in the middle of the car, I tried not to run over it with the tyres but obviously it caused some damage that made the car tricky to drive.

"I was pushing hard to avoid Max getting through. I had to push over all of my limits which led to a few mistakes. Unlucky."

Renault's Daniel Ricciardo was able to celebrate third place in the first F1 race at the famous Italian circuit since 2006.

Lewis Hamilton paid tribute to Mercedes' "unsung heroes" after he led a Silver Arrows one-two in a chaotic Emilia Romagna Grand Prix to seal a record seventh consecutive constructors' title

Hamilton took another stride towards matching Michael Schumacher's tally of seven Formula One world titles as the Silver Arrows claimed yet another one-two at Imola on Sunday.

Valtteri Bottas has now converted pole to victory just five times in 16 races, finishing second behind his team-mate after Max Verstappen spun off in front of him with a puncture.

Hamilton produced another brilliant drive after a poor start, benefiting from a strategy call to stay out for a longer first stint on medium tyres after Bottas and Verstappen pitted from first and second for hard compounds.

The brief deployment of a virtual safety also played into Hamilton's hands and he extended his record tally to 93 F1 victories following a late restart of the race after the safety car was required.

Hamilton, who leads Bottas by 85 points with four races to come, was full of praise for the colleagues who have been so key to Mercedes' dominance of the sport after an action-packed race.

He said on the podium: "It was an exhausting race, the speed we were having to go after a poor start.

"It is very overwhelming right now. I look at my crew and I know all the men and women here and back in the factory and they are the unsung heroes. They are the ones that have continued to graft away, never given up.

"People watching think we are used to it but it always feels like the first because of the spirit of this team. We have a great leader in our team and a big, big thank you to Mercedes.

"Seven is unbelievable. While we have great performances it is not easy to continue to deliver weekend in and out. The guys are so precise in how they take the car apart and put it together again weekend after weekend.

"Seven times champs – something to tell my grandchildren."

Lewis Hamilton won the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix as Mercedes wrapped up a record seventh consecutive constructors' title with another one-two after Max Verstappen spun out.

Hamilton dropped from second to third behind Max Verstappen before the first corner, but the combination of a strategy call and the deployment of the virtual safety car put the runaway championship leader in command of the race.

Bottas, who started on pole, pitted on lap 20 of 63 at Imola just after Verstappen, who was in second place at the time, for a switch from medium to hard tyres.

Hamilton stayed out for a much longer stint on mediums and built up a big lead before a timely, brief deployment of a virtual safety car when Esteban Ocon retired on lap 31 played right into his hands.

The six-time Formula One world champion pitted and went on to seal victory, with Bottas second after Verstappen's race was ended by a puncture on lap 52 in a dramatic twist.

Verstappen had capitalised on a mistake from Bottas, who suffered floor damage, to move into second on lap 43 but ended up in the gravel and George Russell crashed out behind the safety car soon after.

Hamilton and Bottas pitted for soft tyres and the Brit, who broke Michael Schumacher's record of 91 F1 race victories last weekend, saw out another win following a restart with just six laps to complete.

Daniel Ricciardo took third place behind Bottas as Mercedes celebrated yet another title, with Hamlton closing on being crowned champion for a record-equalling seventh time with four races to go.

Daniil Kvyat took fourth spot in a frantic finale, with Charles Leclerc completing the top five in a chaotic first F1 race at the iconic Italian track since 2006.

Lewis Hamilton conceded he had produced a sub-standard effort in qualifying for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix and predicted Sunday will see a race without too much drama. 

With Mercedes on the brink of clinching a seventh successive constructors' championship this weekend, Valtteri Bottas will start the race at Imola on pole. 

Bottas beat team-mate Hamilton by 0.097seconds in qualifying on Saturday to claim his second pole in three attempts. 

Hamilton, who last time out claimed the outright F1 record with a 92nd race win in Portugal, will fight hard for a third straight victory but thinks whoever leads after turn one will be in a strong position to triumph. 

"Valtteri did a great job and that was a pretty p***-poor lap from myself," said Hamilton, who leads the standings by 77 points. 

"These things happen and you can't always get it perfect. I am grateful to have the performance that we have, it is really remarkable - it feels better here for us than it did in the last race." 

Asked about the circuit and what was in store for the race, Hamilton replied: "The speeds we are going around this track are unbelievable. It is a real challenge. 

"What is unfortunate on this track is it is so beautiful to drive but I'm pretty certain you are going to see a pretty a boring race. 

"You can overtake on this long straight, but it is quite narrow and you can't follow it up. Once you get into turn one it is a train from there, there is no real single place to overtake anywhere else. 

"It is going to be a challenge for people following. The DRS hopefully will give some opportunities for overtakes at turn one, but you need two seconds' advantage [to overtake there]. 

"I will give it everything I have got, fingers crossed. This is a beautiful location, this part of Italy. They don't build tracks like this anymore, it is a classic and has got the history."

Pole-sitter Bottas is ready for a battle at turn one, with Max Verstappen also a threat from third.

"You always have to fight, it is never easy getting pole positions," he said. "This track when you push flat out is beautiful and it's a great feeling to get pole - I definitely had the shakes afterwards! 

"I had to improve on the last lap and I found those small gains that were needed.

"It's going to be a good fight. It is one of the longest runs in the calendar down to turn one. No doubt Lewis and Max will be there chasing me but it is a good place to start, hopefully the pace is good. Game on."

There was some relief for Verstappen, who was almost eliminated in Q2 when an electrical issue left Red Bull mechanics with a race against time to get his car fixed. 

He said: "It wasn't a great qualifying because of the issue - we didn't have a lot of laps, I only did two laps in Q1 and then could not get that run in for Q2. 

"It was a bit tricky. With the mediums we got through, but we didn’t have a reference point to get into Q3. We seemed to be struggling a bit, not a lot of grip in the first run and just difficult overall. 

"At the end of the day P3 is not bad but personally I expected to be a little bit closer to be able to fight Mercedes a little bit more. But after Q2 we just lost our way a little bit."

Lewis Hamilton made Formula One history last weekend with a 92nd race win and the Mercedes driver can match another record at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Michael Schumacher won 72 Grands Prix during his time with Ferrari, and six-time world champion Hamilton can reach the tally for the Silver Arrows if he wins at Imola.

The track is back on the calendar for the first time since 2006, though no fans will be able to attend due to a spike in coronavirus cases in Italy.

After his dominant victory at the Portuguese Grand Prix, Hamilton has won nine times this season as he closes in matching Schumacher's haul of seven F1 world titles.

We preview a race which starts at 13:10 local time (12:10 GMT).

 

LAST TIME OUT

It was a landmark win for Hamilton in Portugal, as the Briton surpassed Schumacher's record of 91 F1 victories.

Hamilton started on pole, but slipped to third place on the second lap before coasting to yet another victory ahead of team-mate Valtteri Bottas and Red Bull's Max Verstappen.

The 35-year-old leads the championship by 77 points and it is surely only a matter of time before he wraps up a fourth straight world title.

Alex Albon had been challenged by Christian Horner to make an impact in the Algarve, but the Red Bull driver got off to a slow start and never looked likely to challenge for points, ultimately finishing in 12th.

Carlos Sainz faded after a strong start, while Ferrari duo Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel finished fourth and 10th respectively. 

WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR AT IMOLA

All eyes will of course be on Hamilton, but Bottas will be looking to gain some of the limelight.

Bottas is 17 points ahead of Verstappen, and the pair might have to battle it out for second place with Hamilton riding on the crest of a wave.

If Hamilton, Bottas and Verstappen finish on the podium at Imola, it will be the second-most repeated top-three in F1 history, behind a top three of Hamilton, Vettel and Nico Rosberg.

Albon will need to start mounting a response to his poor form if he is to cling onto his Red Bull seat next season, while Ferrari's Leclerc has not finished on the podium since the British Grand Prix at the start of August.

TOP FIVE OPTA STATS

Senna's legacy lives on – Ayrton Senna died in an accident at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix. The legendary Brazilian took eight pole positions at Imola, more than any other driver at the Italian circuit.

Seven up for Mercedes – Mercedes are 12 points away from claiming the world F1 team championship for a seventh consecutive year, the best run for a team in F1.

History maker – This will be the 32nd different grand prix for Hamilton, who has won more races (27) and taken more pole positions (27) at different Grands Prix than any other driver.

Bottas' conversion issues continue – Bottas has claimed 14 poles in total, yet he has won just won five races after starting at the top of the grid.

Vettel's qualification woe – Vettel has failed to reach Q3 in the last eight qualifying sessions – the worst run in his F1 career. The four-time world champion has gone 15 consecutive races without reaching the podium.

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS 

Drivers 
1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – 256 
2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) – 179 
3. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) – 162 
4. Daniel Ricciardo (Renault) – 80 
5. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) – 75 

Constructors 
1. Mercedes – 435 
2. Red Bull – 226 
3. Racing Point – 126 
4. McLaren – 124 
5. Renault – 120 

Lewis Hamilton claimed pole in qualifying as he attempts to set a new Formula One record at the Portuguese Grand Prix. 

Hamilton moved level with Michael Schumacher on 91 victories in F1 at the Eifel Grand Prix last time out to consolidate his lead at the top of the championship. 

The reigning champion will take to the track in Portimao on Sunday at the front of the grid after recording a time of one minute, 16.652 seconds on his final run in qualifying. 

He pipped Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who was quickest in all three practice sessions, to pole, with Max Verstappen of Red Bull in third. 

WHAT HAPPENED IN QUALIFYING

Hamilton and Bottas completed their first runs on soft tyres, with the latter taking provisional pole, yet the duo switched to the medium compound after coming back out from the garage. 

Bottas improved on his time, but Hamilton – who went back on the track earlier – capitalised on an extra flying lap to finish ahead of his team-mate and secure a ninth pole of the season. 

 Sebastian Vettel's time with Ferrari is approaching its end and the former world champion failed to reach Q3 for an eighth successive grand prix. He will start from 15th, while team-mate Charles Leclerc qualified fourth.  

THE STARTING GRID 

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), 2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)
3. Max Verstappen (Red Bull), 4. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
5. Sergio Perez (Racing Point), 6. Alex Albon (Red Bull) 
7. Carlos Sainz (McLaren), 8. Lando Norris (McLaren)
9. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri), 10. Daniel Ricciardo (Renault)
11. Esteban Ocon (Renault), 12. Lance Stroll (Racing Point)
13. Daniil Kvyat (AlphaTauri), 14. George Russell (Williams) 
15. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari), 16. Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo)
17. Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo), 18. Romain Grosjean (Haas)
19. Kevin Magnussen (Haas), 20. Nicholas Latifi (Williams)

PORTUGUESE GRAND PRIX TALKING POINTS

All eyes will be on Hamilton on Sunday, but credit must go to his team-mate Bottas, who drove brilliantly through practice and qualifying. 

If Bottas keeps it up, Hamilton will have to be at his best to hold onto first place and claim a record-breaking victory, though Mercedes may well instruct Bottas to support and protect their lead driver as he aims to make history. 

The Finn was left to rue not leaving the garage as early as Hamilton Saturday, meaning he only had one flying lap compared to two for the six-time world champion. 

Verstappen should not be discounted, and fellow Red Bull driver Albon has a point to prove over the remainder of the season if he is to secure his future with the team. 

Vettel looks down and out as a Ferrari driver and acknowledged after qualifying that Leclerc was in "another league", while Daniel Ricciardo endured a frustrating session with Renault unable to apply sufficient repairs in time for him to get back on the track after a spin in Q2. 

WHAT THE DRIVERS SAID

Lewis Hamilton (pole): "I didn't know whether or not I was going to get a lap that would be able to compete with his [Bottas'] – I was always off a tenth or half a tenth or whatever it is – but the decision I took at the end was what created the opportunity. The idea of having an extra lap, an extra chance, an extra stab at getting pole looked good to me so I chose to go that extra lap and I think Valtteri chose the one, but he still did a great job and it was very, very tough and I had to dig very deep." 

Valtteri Bottas (2nd): "Obviously the benefit going of going for one, you can fuel for just one timed; if you do two laps you have to fuel for two laps, which is more weight, so based on what I felt in Q2 – and it was a good feeling with the tyres on a single lap – I went for it again in Q3. Ultimately it was the wrong decision but I think maybe the track temp – I don't know – dropped slightly or I just couldn't get the tyres to feel quite the same as they felt in Q2. At the end of that lap I was just hoping I could have one more lap but obviously didn't have the fuel. Wrong call from my side and it is annoying for sure, but Lewis did a good job at the end."

Max Verstappen (3rd): "For me [it was] not personally enjoyable to drive at the moment, with the tyres and grip on the track, because, I mean, I was here in January and I thought it was going to be amazing to drive a Formula One car. I mean, the scenery, everything is perfect but the grip we have… For me personally, you can't really push, you're just driving on ice. It's a bit of a shame."

Daniel Ricciardo (10th): "The team got very close to getting me back out on track for Q3. One more minute and we were on track. It's a shame, I could see them working hard in the mirrors, trying to make it work for me, so it was a bit of a let-down for them, but we'll make it happen tomorrow and move up." 

Sebastian Vettel (15th): "At the moment [Charles] is beyond me. It's not just beating, it's like another league. I try everything I can. I think the laps I make, which I am content with, are still too slow. At the moment there is nothing more I can do than just getting everything out of myself and the car."

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Drivers
1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – 230
2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) – 161
3. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) – 147
4. Daniel Ricciardo (Renault) – 78
5. Sergio Perez (Racing Point) 68

Constructors
1. Mercedes – 391
2. Red Bull – 211
3. Racing Point – 120
4. McLaren – 116
5. Renault – 114

Valtteri Bottas was left ruing his qualifying strategy after Lewis Hamilton pipped him to pole position for the Portuguese Grand Prix. 

Both Mercedes drivers switched to medium tyres for the final runs in Q3 on Saturday but Hamilton left the garage first, giving himself time for two flying laps. 

Bottas opted to only go for one shot and initially took provisional pole from Hamilton, who pipped him on his second run. 

"We decided to go for medium because of the previous feeling in qualifying, it felt a tiny bit quicker than the softs," Bottas, who was quickest in all three practice sessions, explained. 

"Then it was choosing if we do two timed laps or one timed lap. I went for that, it was my decision because it worked in Q2. But apparently it seems like doing two timed laps like Lewis was better. 

"It was a decent lap, not perfect. It's been tricky here to get really clean laps this weekend because of the way the track is. The lap was good. Ultimately I should have gone for two timed [laps] as well." 

Hamilton will start from the front of the grid for the ninth time this season and the 97th time in his career, giving himself a great chance of securing a record-breaking 92nd win in Portimao. 

"It's amazing. I can't tell you how hard that was today. Yes, we've got a great car but you have to drive the nuts off of it to pull out a lap," said Hamilton. 

"Valtteri's been so quick this weekend, he's topped every session. So I've just been digging and digging and digging to find that extra time.  

"At the end, I chose to do three laps to give me a chance at beating his time and I think [Bottas] decided to do one, so I was like, 'Okay, this could provide me with an opportunity.' And it worked. That last lap, it got better and better as I went through it. 

"The team communicate really well and gave both of us the option to either go on to the soft or the medium, we both chose to go medium, he chose one lap, I chose to do three. I got out there nice and early." 

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen will start from third on the soft compound, while both Mercedes drivers will be on mediums. 

"The tarmac is quite difficult to bring the tyres in, so it's a bit hit and miss. I'm happy though," said Verstappen. 

"I think the lap in Q3 was pretty decent, it's very difficult to get the front tyres and the rear tyres to match but again, P3 is not too far behind and of course a lot to play for tomorrow and hopefully we can stay close. 

"Turn one is not really a place to dive. I think the start will be important but even then, we don't really have enough information about how the tyres are going to hold up, so we'll just feel our way into the race and see what's going to happen." 

Lewis Hamilton will begin from pole position when he attempts to set a new Formula One wins record at the Portuguese Grand Prix on Sunday.  

Championship leader Hamilton moved level with Michael Schumacher on 91 victories in F1 at the Eifel Grand Prix last time out - and he boosted his chances of making history in Portimao by securing his place at the front of the grid.  

The Mercedes driver capitalised on having an extra flying lap in Q3 as he pipped team-mate Valtteri Bottas by recording a time of one minute, 16.652 seconds on his final run.  

Bottas was quickest in all three practice sessions but will start from second after going one tenth slower, while Max Verstappen guided his Red Bull to third.

While Verstappen will start the race on the soft tyres, the Mercedes duo will be on the medium compound at lights out.  

Bottas was on provisional pole after the Mercedes duo completed their first runs on softs, but when they came back out from the garage they switched to mediums as the wind picked up.  

The Finn improved on his time with his only flying lap to displace Hamilton but the Briton, who went back out on track earlier, was not to be denied and eked out his ninth pole of the season and 97th of his career.  

Sebastian Vettel failed to reach Q3 for the eighth straight race and will begin proceedings from 15th, behind the Williams of George Russell.  

However, Charles Leclerc steered his Ferrari into the final session on medium tyres and will start from fourth.  

Daniel Ricciardo was unable to set a time in Q3 with Renault unable to apply sufficient repairs in time for him to get back on track after a late spin in Q2.

PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION   

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:16.652 
2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) +0.102s 
3. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +0.252s 
4. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) +0.438s 
5. Sergio Perez (Racing Point) +0.571s 
6. Alex Albon (Red Bull) +0.785s 
7. Carlos Sainz (McLaren) +0.868s 
8. Lando Norris (McLaren) +0.873s 
9. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) +1.151s 
10. Daniel Ricciardo (Renault) no time 

Toto Wolff says Mercedes do not have an "opportunity" to move for Red Bull driver Max Verstappen.

The prospect of a dream partnership between six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton and Formula One's top young star Verstappen has often been speculated over.

But Verstappen is under contract with Red Bull, who will lose its engine provider, Honda, after next season, until 2023.

Wolff is happy to have Hamilton partnered by Valtteri Bottas, the duo providing a level of team harmony much different to when the Briton was sharing a garage with Nico Rosberg.

"The situation around Max doesn't provide any opportunity now," Mercedes team principal Wolff said to the Beyond the Grid podcast.

"He's bound to Red Bull, I respect his loyalty a lot and I think it's important for Red Bull to have Max.

"There's a lot of narrative around that and Red Bull picked him up from very early on when he joined Toro Rosso. The situation is what it is and it's good for him and good for us.

"Valtteri does a great job for us, and Lewis does a great job for us and they are still at the peak of their performance levels.

"Then we have juniors that are coming up that have been with us for many years and could be the future for us. So this is what we look at."

In-form Verstappen has reached the podium in the eight grands prix he has finished in 2020, winning once and taking second place five times.

Ahead of the Portuguese Grand Prix this weekend, Hamilton leads Bottas by 69 points, with Verstappen just 14 adrift of the Finn in third.

Bottas joined Mercedes from Williams in 2017 after the surprise retirement of Rosberg, who had just been crowned world champion after a heated 2016 title battle with his former friend Hamilton.

"Some things between Nico and Lewis we will never understand, because it goes back many years from go-karting into junior formulas," added Wolff.

"It grew from camaraderie to rivalry to animosity. They just fell out, pretty early on actually when I joined in 2013. Then it gets worse and worse and worse.

"There was a lot of negativity and that would drag the whole room down. It was very difficult. It is so refreshing that since Valtteri joined, we haven't had any of that."

Victory for Hamilton in Portugal – the first race held in the country for 24 years - would be the 92nd of his F1 career, moving him in to sole possession of the race wins record above Michael Schumacher.

The championship leader has won at three out of the last four circuits he has raced at for the first time - in Mugello this year, Sochi (2014) and Austin (2012).

Bottas, meanwhile, was unable to win at the Eifel Grand Prix last time out despite starting from pole position – the ninth time that has happened from his 14 poles.

Lewis Hamilton equalled Michael Schumacher's record for the most Formula One race wins by triumphing at the Eifel Grand Prix.

The six-time world champion took advantage of Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas' early error to seize the lead and then held off Red Bull's Max Verstappen at the Nurburgring.

Bottas, who started on pole, had a rotten day in Germany, retiring on lap 19 because of a mechanical failure, with Renault's Daniel Ricciardo finishing third.

Hamilton was able to increase his lead in the standings due to Bottas' retirement, the Briton now 69 points clear with six races to go as he closes on equalling Schumacher's record drivers' championships tally of seven.

Bottas was bidding to win back-to-back races for the first time in his career but a sluggish start off the grid opened the door to Hamilton in Turn One.

However, the Finn, racing in his 150th grand prix, battled back at Turn Two to regain the lead and show the kind of fighting spirit some have accused him of lacking.

Hamilton was back ahead at the start of lap 12, though, Bottas locking up at Turn One with an error that required him to pit and drop further back.

The introduction of the virtual safety car - brought out after Kimi Raikkonen clipped George Williams on his record 324th start - resulted in both Hamilton and Verstappen pitting to further deject Bottas, whose race was run not long after.

Hamilton was cruising to victory but when McLaren's Lando Norris abandoned the race, having also battled issues with his car for much of the afternoon, another safety car was deployed to give some hope to the chasing pack.

Verstappen very nearly smashed into the back of the race leader on the restart with 10 laps to go, but Hamilton duly delivered a lap record of 1:28.487 on 52 of 60 en route to a slice of history.

Page 1 of 8
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.