Hamilton aces practice but accepts grid penalty

09 October 2021 02:22:06 GMTPlus11
Hamilton impressed in Friday practice

Lewis Hamilton led the way in both Friday practice sessions ahead of this weekend’s Turkish Grand Prix, but will begin Sunday's race with a 10-place grid penalty.

Mercedes incurred the sanction by taking on a fourth engine - one more than competition rules allow for - and Hamilton is 11/4 to take the chequered flag on Sunday.

However, their use of only one internal combustion engine prevents a full drop to the back of the grid, such as that enforced on Max Verstappen's Red Bull last time out.

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The Briton's rival for the world title fought his way through the field to take second place at the Russian GP, leaving Verstappen just two points behind podium-topping Hamilton on leaving Sochi.

In Istanbul, however, there was clear ground between the pair - the seven-time champion flew in 0.425 seconds ahead of the Dutchman in the opening session, topping the time sheets again with a 0.166 second advantage on Ferrari's Charles Leclerc. Fellow Mercedes man Valtteri Bottas was third fastest.

Verstappen dropped 0.635 behind the pace in the early afternoon, dogged by an oversteer and placing fifth overall.

Mercedes' decision to take a penalty this weekend balances the risk of an engine failure towards the end of the season, such as the one suffered by Hamilton in practice ahead of last month's race in the Netherlands. Such an incident mid-race would trigger a penalty at a subsequent race.

There was further engine talk over at Ferrari in the lead-up to the Turkish showdown as Leclerc's teammate Carlos Sainz Jr, himself taking on a full engine change, is already confirmed as starting from the back of the grid on Sunday.

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