Lewis Hamilton believes he has a challenging race day ahead at the Turkish Grand Prix despite setting the fastest times during Friday practice.
Mercedes has opted to take a power unit penalty at Istanbul Park, with Hamilton set for a 10-place grid drop on Sunday as a result of a new internal combustion engine (ICE). Confirmation of the penalty came on Friday morning and Hamilton then duly set the pace across both practice sessions, but he says his approach is no different as he needs a strong car in both qualifying and the race.
“Well, I need to be on pole to limit the loss and then of course I need to understand the car to do the best in terms of long run,” Hamilton said. “So I’m just trying to find the balance — no real different to any other weekend.
“We started off with a really good setup, the first session was really strong, made some changes, and the track is evolving and feeling different. The changes were OK; not sure it felt as good as it did in the first session in the second session but we’ve got lots of good findings and hopefully take those forward.
“I don’t know how much more there is but we always find something during the evenings so I definitely think we can find just a little bit tonight and into tomorrow if it’s not raining. And then I have a lot of work to do Sunday, whatever the case, so just going to try and focus on how I can get the best out there.”
Hamilton said the pace of Ferrari — with Charles Leclerc a close second in FP2 — as well as the midfield teams will make his life difficult when he tries to fight through the field from a lower starting position than usual.
“They’re going to be hard to pass, as are Renault (Alpine) and McLaren — they seem to be improving more and more through the year. I don’t know where that’s coming from, if they’re bringing upgrades; I don’t know, it’s not really my focus but it’s good to see them getting stronger and I hope they’re strong next year.”