Red Bull’s Christian Horner has stark Lewis Hamilton warning despite Turkish GP advantage

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Red Bull chief Christian Horner believes Lewis Hamilton is the “quickest he’s been all year” ahead of the Turkish Grand Prix, after setting the quickest time during qualifying in Istanbul.

Hamilton should be starting the race from pole position tomorrow, however due to Mercedes opting to take a fourth engine ahead of the race on Sunday, has been relegated to 11th.

It means everyone in the top 10 moves up a space, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen inheriting a front row start behind the second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas.

Despite being handed an advantage over Mercedes, boss Horner admitted Hamilton looked particularly strong this weekend.

“Lewis is looking probably the quickest he’s looked all year here,” Horner told Sky Sports F1. “The Mercedes is hooked up around here, it’s working well on this asphalt circuit and it’s gonna be coming through pretty quick. 

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“So yeah, we’ve just got to focus on our own race, get the strategy right, reliability, all those factors and see how we pan out.”

Verstappen struggled with understeer on Friday during first and second practice, and was heard complaining on the radio of the car snapping on the exit of corners.

However with a second place start and Sergio Perez starting sixth, Horner was pleased with his team’s performance.

“The guys have done a good recovery overnight,” Horner added. “The whole engineering team trackside, and back in the factory in Milton Keynes have done a strong job today to make the progress that we have, so hopefully that puts us in better shape for tomorrow.

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“The best route to beat Mercedes is to finish ahead of them. So we’re focused very much on our race, and trying to make sure we capitalise the maximum points of both drivers. 

“Hopefully we’ll be closer to them in the race than we were in qualifying today, we see that they’re very quick over a single lap, whether that’s sustainable over the whole race, we’ll see tomorrow.”

Verstappen added: “Going off at the beginning was tricky with the conditions, but compared to yesterday we managed to turn it around quite well. 

“The laps overall were quite good, even though the last one we lost a bit down the straight.

“Overall, it’s quite a decent recovery compared to yesterday. Tomorrow, lining up in second, let’s wait and see what the weather will do, but overall I’m pretty happy.

“I should be a bit better, let’s see how competitive we will be in the race. The tyre wear seems quite high around the track, but it’s quite fun to drive.”

Hamilton leads the way by two points over Verstappen, with Bottas on pole on Sunday.

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