By Vugar Khalilov
Istanbul has hosted the Turkish Grand Prix 2021 as part of the Formula 1 World Championship, Yeni Shafak newspaper has reported.
The 16th stage of the season kicked off on the 5.3-kilometer Intercity Istanbul Park Track, over 58 laps, the report added.
Red Bull's Max Verstappen, one of the pilots fighting for the championship, had won seven races, while Lewis Hamilton from Mercedes had won five races prior to the Turkish Grand Prix.
Moreover, Verstappen's teammate Sergio Perez, Renault's Esteban Ocon, and McLaren's Daniel Ricciardo once each took first place on the podium.
The Turkish Grand Prix, which was held without an audience last year due to the pandemic, was held at half capacity this year.
Almost all of the 100,000 tickets on sale at Intercity Istanbul Park with the capacity of 240,000 people have been sold out.
Due to England's removal of Turkey from the red list created as a result of the pandemic, approximately 40 thousand foreign sports fans came to watch the race from the stands last weekend.
The qualifying rounds of the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship Turkish Grand Prix were run earlier. While the pilots had difficulties from time to time on the track wet due to rain, Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton took the pole position with a time of 1:22,868. However, he started the race in 11th place due to a 10-place penalty.
Another Mercedes driver, Valtteri Bottas, was in the first place. Red Bull's Max Verstappen started in second place and Ferrari's Charles Leclerc in the third.
On the other hand, Ferrari's Spanish driver Carlos Sainz started the race in last place as he has changed the power unit for the fourth time in his car since the teams have the right to change power units 3 times in a season.
The track record set by Brazilian pilot Juan Pablo Montoya in 2005 continues to be broken one after another in 2021. While the drivers entered the race to break the track record in the previous day's practice laps, Hamilton first renewed his record with 1:23,082 in the second qualifying lap. Bottas beat Hamilton with 1:23,071 in the third qualifying lap. Hamilton then regained the track record with a time of 1:22,868.
Stating that the qualifying laps were difficult due to the rain, Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton said: “It is very nice to be back to Turkey. Last year was incredible for me and my team. There is a very good audience. I hope we can show them an exciting race.”
"The track is a lot of fun, especially at Turn eight. We will see what the weather will be like and how much we can compete in the race,” Red Bull's Dutch driver Max Verstappen said.
In five Turkish Grand Prix out of eight organized so far, the pilots who took the pole positions also claimed the victory. Kimi Raikkonen in 2005, Felipe Massa in 2006, 2007, and 2008, Sebastian Vettel in 2011 finished the race first, starting from the pole position.
In 2009 Jenson Button and in 2010 Lewis Hamilton starting from the second position claimed the victory. In 2020, Hamilton won his seventh championship starting from the sixth position.
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