Wolff: Hamilton Turkey progress "tough" after FP2 traffic issues

Mercedes Formula 1 team boss Toto Wolff believes it will be tough for Lewis Hamilton to move up in Sunday's Turkish Grand Prix after being alarmed by traffic issues in free practice.

Wolff: Hamilton Turkey progress "tough" after FP2 traffic issues

Hamilton took pole on Saturday ahead of Valtteri Bottas and Red Bull's Max Verstappen, but a 10-place grid penalty for a new engine means he will cede the front row to his teammate and to his title rival respectively, and start from 11th.

While Mercedes appears to enjoy a considerable pace advantage at Istanbul Park, Wolff thinks that it will be hard for Hamilton to move up after witnessing the championship leader being stuck in traffic in Friday practice and he believes the team will have to bank on a clever strategy instead.

"Yesterday in the long run at a certain stage we were behind a Haas and also a Williams and it was very difficult to even come close," Wolff explained to Sky.

"I guess that strategy is more going to be the one that's going to help tomorrow.

"You need to look at the positives that the car is very quick, and we can start from pole.

"On the negative side, it's a weekend where we could have had a front row lockout and we haven't, we need to go to the back and it's not going to be easy with all the cars running on medium in front of him apart from [AlphaTauri's soft tyre running] Yuki Tsunoda. Progress will be a tough one."

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Asked if Bottas will be required to help Hamilton, Wolff said that the best thing the Finn could do is to simply hold off Verstappen and win the race.

"We have to look after ourselves," he said. "Valtteri wants to win the race, and this is the best opportunity, and it's helping Lewis.

"The Red Bulls have been so competitive this weekend and over the long runs, it was worse than on a single lap."

Hamilton was also wary of traffic issues in the race but said his goal to still try and win the race is "not impossible".

"My eyes are still solely set on winning the race," Hamilton told Sky. "It’s going to be very hard from 11th, but not impossible.

"I don’t know what the weather is going to do tomorrow also, so just staying on my toes and making sure that we deliver maximum attack tomorrow.

"I honestly have got to take it one step at a time tomorrow. It’s a long race.

"If I can be higher up early on, then great, but I’ve got to stay out of trouble of course, and that will be my priority initially, and see if it’s possible to pick them off one by one."

He added: "It's not the easiest overtaking at the moment and we're all on the same tyre as well, so I imagine tomorrow is going to be difficult to move up."

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