Team

Report: Lance Takes Incredible Turkish GP Pole

November 14, 2020
2020
Race Report
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BWT Racing Point F1 Team and Lance seal first F1 pole, Checo P3

Lance and Checo rose above the drama of Formula 1’s Turkish Grand Prix Qualifying to create history as the Canadian sealed a famous pole position, with Checo securing P3.

The challenging track conditions from Friday carried over into Saturday with heavy rain on a newly resurfaced track catching out many of the drivers.

Checo and Lance would both lap inside the Top 10 and experience both the Intermediate and Wet tyre, which would prove crucial later, before a late downpour largely ended the practice session with over 25 minutes left on the clock.

Those conditions would only linger as Q1 got underway and the team wasted no time at all in getting lap times up on the board amid the uncertainty.

Checo and Lance were right on the pace, lapping inside the top five with Checo briefly topping the session with his 2.07.614 lap time.

Lance would jump ahead of Checo with a 2.07.467 effort and those times would prove crucial when the Red Flag came out with just six minutes left on the clock.

After a 40-minute delay, there was a busy track as most of the field scrambled to set times to make it into Q2.

But both Checo and Lance were prevented from improving their lap times by incidents for other drivers that caused yellow flags. Despite the interruption, Lance and Checo made it into Q2.

The duo would hit their stride in Q2 on the wet tyre and spent the first half of the session firing in successive fast laps.

Heading into the final moments, the pair held comfortable Top Five places, only to find more time and improve again. Lance’s 1.53.372 time put him into P3, while Checo’s 1.54.097 lap secured P7.

Come Q3, and the drama only moved up another gear. While teams grappled with whether to go out on the Wet or Intermediate compound, Lance decisively decided to start on the Wet before a switch to the Intermediate, knowing the final moments would be key to the result.

Checo started on the Intermediate from the off, knowing he could build up momentum for a final push in the final moments.

The pair moved to the top of the times approaching the midway point with Checo’s 1.52.037 time marginally quicker than Lance’s 1.53.832 effort.

Realising the team’s strategy was paying off, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen had now switched to Intermediate tyres and joined a three-way fight for pole.

Checo struck first to briefly top the times, but his final lap with the tyres at their peak was crucially hindered by Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi, crossing the line in 1.49.321.

Lance would move into P2, only for Verstappen to jump back ahead of him. With the Red Bull driver and Lance now head-to-head, Lance smashed in a stunning 1.47.765 lap time to take pole position.

While Verstappen would get ahead of Checo, the Mexican is starting on the favoured side of the grid.

With the two RP20s lining up in P1 and P3, Checo and Lance helped steer the team to a great piece of history and put the BWT Racing Point F1 Team in the driving seat for crucial points on Sunday.

Lance: “Today was incredible and one of the best moments of my Formula 1 career. When I was told over the radio that I had taken pole position, I was thinking: ‘pinch me, I’m dreaming!’. I’m still a little lost for words: I’ve dreamt of days like these and it’s a special moment.

“The conditions out there were incredibly slippery and it was very tricky to drive, but my confidence in the car was just building throughout qualifying and I was piecing it all together. Precision, concentration and finding the flow is absolutely key in the wet because it can always be unpredictable from corner to corner on the track. When the car is feeling this good and the tyres are switched on, it’s like a dance and I love driving in those situations.

“The session showed that it was so important to be on the right tyre at the right time and we definitely made the correct call by being on intermediate tyres at the end. It worked out perfectly. We knew it would come down to the final lap and we put it all together for pole.

“I’m going to let this sink in and enjoy it before thinking about tomorrow. We know it’s going to be tough with Max close by and the Mercedes will probably make progress, but we have both cars in great positions and we can aim to score important points for the team to make it a really special weekend.

“I’d never been to Istanbul before this weekend, but I definitely love it now!”

Checo: “It’s a great day for the team and I’m very pleased. In Q1, I had to abort my best lap under yellow flags and that almost cost me a place in Q2, especially as others didn’t abort their laps under double waved yellow. But we narrowly made it through.

“Once we were in Q3, we decided to go for the intermediate tyre because I was confident we could get the temperature into it and make it work. It paid off and lap by lap, we were improving and looking quick.

“I think I could have taken pole today, but on my final lap when my tyres were at their best, [Antonio] Giovinazzi was in front of me at Turn 5 and he went off and came back onto the track in front of me, and I had to back off.

“But still, I’m very happy with P3, especially because it means we will start on the better side of the grid than we would have in P2. We can be proud of how much we improved the car overnight and we were very strong in the wet conditions.

“We’ll have to see what is possible in the race tomorrow – anything could happen. We know the Mercedes are going to come through the field and Max will be strong, but hopefully we can have a good first lap and go from there.

“I expect it will be a tricky start to the race because it’s going to be difficult to get the tyres up to temperature quickly, but hopefully we can take advantage and bring home a special result for the team.”

Otmar Szafnauer, CEO & Team Principal: “It’s a great day for us and it’s amazing to see Lance Stroll and a Racing Point on pole position.

“Tyre performance was the story of the day and Lance with his team made the call in Q3 of switching to the intermediates at the end. He said at the beginning of the session that the conditions would play out the way they did, which is not an easy thing to call.

“Lance was very quick on the wet compound and once we bolted on the intermediates, he went out there and did the job fantastically. Congratulations to him on his first pole position.

“Checo also put in a great performance to take P3 on the grid, which sets us up nicely for scoring well tomorrow. Today’s result is the reward of a lot of work overnight to understand the tyres and, while we didn’t expect it to be as wet as it was today, the work paid off."

BWT Racing Point F1 Team and Lance seal first F1 pole, Checo P3

Lance and Checo rose above the drama of Formula 1’s Turkish Grand Prix Qualifying to create history as the Canadian sealed a famous pole position, with Checo securing P3.

The challenging track conditions from Friday carried over into Saturday with heavy rain on a newly resurfaced track catching out many of the drivers.

Checo and Lance would both lap inside the Top 10 and experience both the Intermediate and Wet tyre, which would prove crucial later, before a late downpour largely ended the practice session with over 25 minutes left on the clock.

Those conditions would only linger as Q1 got underway and the team wasted no time at all in getting lap times up on the board amid the uncertainty.

Checo and Lance were right on the pace, lapping inside the top five with Checo briefly topping the session with his 2.07.614 lap time.

Lance would jump ahead of Checo with a 2.07.467 effort and those times would prove crucial when the Red Flag came out with just six minutes left on the clock.

After a 40-minute delay, there was a busy track as most of the field scrambled to set times to make it into Q2.

But both Checo and Lance were prevented from improving their lap times by incidents for other drivers that caused yellow flags. Despite the interruption, Lance and Checo made it into Q2.

The duo would hit their stride in Q2 on the wet tyre and spent the first half of the session firing in successive fast laps.

Heading into the final moments, the pair held comfortable Top Five places, only to find more time and improve again. Lance’s 1.53.372 time put him into P3, while Checo’s 1.54.097 lap secured P7.

Come Q3, and the drama only moved up another gear. While teams grappled with whether to go out on the Wet or Intermediate compound, Lance decisively decided to start on the Wet before a switch to the Intermediate, knowing the final moments would be key to the result.

Checo started on the Intermediate from the off, knowing he could build up momentum for a final push in the final moments.

The pair moved to the top of the times approaching the midway point with Checo’s 1.52.037 time marginally quicker than Lance’s 1.53.832 effort.

Realising the team’s strategy was paying off, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen had now switched to Intermediate tyres and joined a three-way fight for pole.

Checo struck first to briefly top the times, but his final lap with the tyres at their peak was crucially hindered by Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi, crossing the line in 1.49.321.

Lance would move into P2, only for Verstappen to jump back ahead of him. With the Red Bull driver and Lance now head-to-head, Lance smashed in a stunning 1.47.765 lap time to take pole position.

While Verstappen would get ahead of Checo, the Mexican is starting on the favoured side of the grid.

With the two RP20s lining up in P1 and P3, Checo and Lance helped steer the team to a great piece of history and put the BWT Racing Point F1 Team in the driving seat for crucial points on Sunday.

Lance: “Today was incredible and one of the best moments of my Formula 1 career. When I was told over the radio that I had taken pole position, I was thinking: ‘pinch me, I’m dreaming!’. I’m still a little lost for words: I’ve dreamt of days like these and it’s a special moment.

“The conditions out there were incredibly slippery and it was very tricky to drive, but my confidence in the car was just building throughout qualifying and I was piecing it all together. Precision, concentration and finding the flow is absolutely key in the wet because it can always be unpredictable from corner to corner on the track. When the car is feeling this good and the tyres are switched on, it’s like a dance and I love driving in those situations.

“The session showed that it was so important to be on the right tyre at the right time and we definitely made the correct call by being on intermediate tyres at the end. It worked out perfectly. We knew it would come down to the final lap and we put it all together for pole.

“I’m going to let this sink in and enjoy it before thinking about tomorrow. We know it’s going to be tough with Max close by and the Mercedes will probably make progress, but we have both cars in great positions and we can aim to score important points for the team to make it a really special weekend.

“I’d never been to Istanbul before this weekend, but I definitely love it now!”

Checo: “It’s a great day for the team and I’m very pleased. In Q1, I had to abort my best lap under yellow flags and that almost cost me a place in Q2, especially as others didn’t abort their laps under double waved yellow. But we narrowly made it through.

“Once we were in Q3, we decided to go for the intermediate tyre because I was confident we could get the temperature into it and make it work. It paid off and lap by lap, we were improving and looking quick.

“I think I could have taken pole today, but on my final lap when my tyres were at their best, [Antonio] Giovinazzi was in front of me at Turn 5 and he went off and came back onto the track in front of me, and I had to back off.

“But still, I’m very happy with P3, especially because it means we will start on the better side of the grid than we would have in P2. We can be proud of how much we improved the car overnight and we were very strong in the wet conditions.

“We’ll have to see what is possible in the race tomorrow – anything could happen. We know the Mercedes are going to come through the field and Max will be strong, but hopefully we can have a good first lap and go from there.

“I expect it will be a tricky start to the race because it’s going to be difficult to get the tyres up to temperature quickly, but hopefully we can take advantage and bring home a special result for the team.”

Otmar Szafnauer, CEO & Team Principal: “It’s a great day for us and it’s amazing to see Lance Stroll and a Racing Point on pole position.

“Tyre performance was the story of the day and Lance with his team made the call in Q3 of switching to the intermediates at the end. He said at the beginning of the session that the conditions would play out the way they did, which is not an easy thing to call.

“Lance was very quick on the wet compound and once we bolted on the intermediates, he went out there and did the job fantastically. Congratulations to him on his first pole position.

“Checo also put in a great performance to take P3 on the grid, which sets us up nicely for scoring well tomorrow. Today’s result is the reward of a lot of work overnight to understand the tyres and, while we didn’t expect it to be as wet as it was today, the work paid off."

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