LEWIS HAMILTON has warned Max Verstappen he’s gunning for victory in Sunday’s Turkish GP – despite his 10-place grid penalty.
Hamilton has a slender two-point lead over the Red Bull man going into the race in Istanbul but has been demoted for using his fourth engine of the season.
F1‘s rules only permit three over the course of the campaign and Hamilton’s new power unit brings with it a hefty sanction.
But the 37-year-old, who won the Turkish GP from sixth place last year to clinch his record-equalling seventh world title, is hoping for more of the same.
He said: “It really depends on the weather we’ve got and yes, partly cautious, but also super attacking; I need to win the race somehow. So that’s my goal.
“I was already third at the end of Turn One last year, so that made a bit of a difference, but it’s a different weekend.
“My eyes are still solely set on winning the race; it’s going to be very hard from 11th, but not impossible.
“So… just making sure we’ll deliver maximum attack. It is not going to be easy to fight through, but where there is a wheel there is a way.
“We will try and make sure it is balanced and try to minimise the damage and get as high as possible.”
Hamilton was the fastest man in Saturday’s qualifying but will not have the honour of starting on pole owing to his grid drop.
His penalty promoted Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas to start in pole position.
But the Finn says he is only interested in winning his own race – rather than helping out Hamilton who is locked in the title race.
Bottas added: “I’m starting at the front so I’ll focus on my own race. It was a good session and the perfect result with Lewis’ penalty.
“I am very motivated. I have not won yet this season, so it is a big motivation for me and I need to focus on that.”
Hamilton’s title rival will also be boosted up a grid slot owing to the world champion’s grid penalty.
But Verstappen is annoyed that being shifted from third to second puts him on the dirty side of the grid for the race, where there is less grip at the start.
He said: “The main problem is I start second and with the low grip I’ll probably lose out there, so it is not ideal.
It will be difficult to keep Mercedes behind with the pace they have shown in qualifying and in the long runs, but we will try everything we can.”
FREE BETS: GET OVER £2,000 IN NEW CUSTOMER DEALS
Meanwhile, two-time world champion Fernando Alonso avoided a penalty despite ignoring waved yellow flags ordering him to slow down on track.
The Spaniard took a pop at race stewards earlier this week by saying there were “different rules for different people”.
On Thursday he said: “Let’s see the next one that crosses the white line on the pit entry, let’s see which nationality he is, and which penalty he will get.”