Lando Norris reveals the advice Lewis Hamilton gave him
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Lando Norris will start ahead of Lewis Hamilton on the grid for the second straight race on Sunday – but this time he doesn’t expect to stay there for long. Norris, 21, seemed set to hold off Hamilton and record a first ever F1 win in Sochi two weeks ago, only for a sudden deluge to cause chaos over the final laps.
Mercedes opted to call Hamilton in to change to intermediate tyres, whilst Norris and McLaren’s gamble backfired as the youngster tried to stay out on the track and nurse his car home before eventually having to pit.
Instead it was the seven-time world champion who took his 100th F1 career race win, while Norris failed to cap a fairytale weekend that saw him notch a first ever pole position as he eventually finished seventh.
Afterwards however, Hamilton was full of praise for his fellow British driver: “Lando does such an amazing job, he had incredible pace, he’s doing such a great job for McLaren,” he said.
Hamilton, 36, has been at the top of his game in Istanbul but despite topping qualifying, will start 11th on the grid on Sunday after incurring a 10-place grid penalty for his fourth engine change of the season.
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It leaves with a mountain of work to do to leave Turkey still as championship leader, with Max Verstappen, who’ll start second behind Hamilton’s teammate Valterri Bottas, only two points behind him in the drivers’ standings.
Adverse weather is again forecast though, which could play into Hamilton’s hands as he looks to cut through the field.
And Norris said he was just being “realistic” when he implied he wouldn’t be holding him up for long.
“I (get put up a place) but probably not for long,” he said. “He’ll be past me in a couple of laps. I am just realistic. I’m not going to say I’ll beat him because I’m not. I’m just not a dreamer,” he told Sky Sports.
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It was a tougher day for the other McLaren driver, Daniel Ricciardo, who will start the Grand Prix 15th after failing to get to grips with the softer tyres.
“A tough day, we’re not quick enough really. I thought yesterday we’ll have more pace in the bag,” admitted Norris.
“The others had more to unlock than we did. P8 doesn’t sound good but I have to be happy with that. I won’t say it’s scratching heads. We understand it reasonably well as a team. The softs with our car and how you have to drive it isn’t a good combination.”
Norris added that despite the frustration, the team’s display wasn’t a shock to him: “It’s not a big surprise, it’s just frustrating because we put the softest tyre on and you expected to push a bit more but in a way it’s the opposite to that.”
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc will start third, with Pierre Gasly, Fernando Alonso, and Sergio Perez also squeezed in ahead of Norris.
Lance Stroll, Yuki Tsunoda and Sebastian Vettel make up the ten drivers who will be firmly in Hamilton’s sights.
Bottas being on pole could also be a blow to the McLaren man’s hopes of a top three finish in the drivers’ championship, with him lying just 12 points off the third-placed Finn with six races to go after Turkey.
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