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Hamilton confident his team has learned from 2020 experience in Turkey

NEWS STORY
07/10/2021

While most will remember last year's Turkish Grand Prix as being the event where Lewis Hamilton secured his seventh title, some will remember the opening practice session when the Briton was 5.148s off the pace and describing the track surface as "very tricky".

"This track is such a fantastic circuit," he said at the time, "but the new surface made it very tricky. None of the tyres were really working for us and it felt like driving on an ice rink out there. So, you don't really get the enjoyment of the lap that you would normally get around here in Istanbul. When you're way below the temperature window, the tyres just don't work. You can go from one lap to another and find a second just because the tyres work a little bit better in one of the corners. We've got a lot of work to do to try and figure out what we can change overnight to put us in a better position for tomorrow. There are some fundamental things that you can't change on the car, but we'll just have to do the best we can."

Qualifying was little better, with the Mercedes driver sixth quickest, 4.795s off the pace.

"It was so challenging out there today and we were all struggling, but for whatever reason some people could switch on the tyres better than us. We were limited on tyre temperatures and just couldn't find the grip we needed. We tried our hardest and did the best we could, but this was the fastest that we could drive today. It's going to be a challenge tomorrow and I think we'll find it hard to get the tyres to work, but I'll give it everything I've got."

Indeed he did.

Speaking today, with the track surface having been water blasted and Pirelli running compounds a step softer than last year, the Briton insists lessons have been learned.

"I think we've understood some of the issues that we had that weekend and I think we rectified some of that in the race, so I think we're better prepared," he told reporters.

"I think the track has potentially shifted a little bit, so we might be faced with slightly different challenges this weekend," he added.

"It was of course an incredible moment, and what a difficult race," he said of last year's event. "It was a challenging weekend, a really difficult weekend for us as a team. To then have come out on top, with no real mistakes within the race... it was an emotional time.

"I was saying to Bono just now that it's crazy," he continued, "because this past 18 months, I’ve never celebrated a win. "Even when I won the world championship, I didn't celebrate, and it's crazy because before of course you would take a moment to enjoy those things."

Asked about the hybrid elephant in the room, the question of an engine grid penalty, he admitted: "At the moment, I still have number two and three. So I don't envisage us having to take one at the moment, but that could change. Who knows?"

Check out our Thursday gallery from Istanbul, here.

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