Despite being pushed back to P11 on the grid in Turkey, Lewis Hamilton is still heading into the race with victory on his mind.
Hamilton set the pace throughout the dry running at Istanbul Park, ultimately clocking a Q3 time good enough for pole position but a penalty for taking a new internal combustion engine meant he dropped 10 places to P11 on the grid.
Hamilton’s Mercedes boss Toto Wolff expects progress through the pack to be a challenge in the race, but Hamilton is absolutely up for it – taking inspiration from his sensational drive there last season.
Starting P6, he went on to win the 2020 Turkish Grand Prix by over 30 seconds, and so is laser focused on making it back-to-back wins in Istanbul.
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Speaking to Sky F1 about the task ahead, Hamilton said: “Well, I was third already at Turn 1 last year, so that made a bit of a difference.
“But it’s a much, much different weekend, much different track grip, basically different circumstances this weekend.
“So my eyes are still solely set on winning the race. It will be very hard from 11th but not impossible.
“I don’t know what the weather will do tomorrow also, so I’ll just stay on my toes and make sure we deliver maximum attack tomorrow.”
McLaren’s Lando Norris is set to start from P7, although he predicted Hamilton would need only a couple of laps of the grand prix to pass him.
Hamilton has “no clue” if that will be the case, but said staying out of trouble will be his early focus.
Title rival Max Verstappen is set to line up P2 as he tries to overturn his two-point deficit to Hamilton in the Drivers’ Championship.
“I have no clue, we will see – I’ll just take it one step at a time tomorrow,” said Hamilton when asked if he agreed with Norris’ prediction.
“It’s a long race and so if I can be higher up early on then great, but I’ve got to stay out of trouble of course and that will be probably my priority initially.
“And then see if it’s possible to pick them off one by one.”