Lewis Hamilton is hoping for Turkey’s delight despite being forced to take a 10-place penalty on Sunday.
As SunSport reported earlier this week, the world champion risked hitting the back of the grid to pick up a new power unit behind his Mercedes.
F1 regulations allow drivers to use three engines as well as their components during a season. Any excess portion will attract a grid penalty for the Grand Prix.
However, Merck has only replaced the internal combustion engine (ICE) in his motor – keeping his penalties to a minimum so that he can still fight Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
Hamilton is now eyeing the qualifying pole on Saturday to start just outside the top-10 before launching a big fight through the field.
He said: “I have a lot of work to do on Sunday. It will be difficult to pass the other drivers. They seem to be improving more and more throughout the year.
“I need to stay on pole to limit the damage and then understand the car to do its best and find the right balance.”
Mercedes’ director of trackside engineering, Andrew Shovlin, says Hamilton’s 10-place penalty for an engine change – rather than an entirely new powertrain – is a calculated risk.
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He said: “We’re simulating all the races until the end of the year and obviously the thing you definitely don’t want to do is fail during a race and then have to take a penalty anyway.
“Then there’s also a performance element, as power units lose little horsepower over their lives.
“The bit that contributes the most to reliability and performance is ICE itself – and it’s better to take 10 places than to start from the back.”
Hamilton got off to a decent start, topping his Turkish GP in both practice sessions, comfortably ahead of Verstappen’s Red Bull.
He continued: “We started with a really good set up and the first season was really strong and we made some changes which were fine and we have a lot of good conclusions.
“I don’t know how much else is in the car, but we always find something.”
For the last time, the Dutchman started the Russian GP from the very back after taking over a new ICE, plus a turbo charger and spare parts.
We have a balance mish-mash… the circuit is a lot grippier than it was last year and we’re a little out the window with Max on the set-up.
Red Bull Boss Christian Horner
However, he still struggled to finish second behind race-winner Hamilton.
Yet Red Bull boss Christian Horner admits his team has their job cut out if they want to help Verstappen to a win that will return him to the top of the championship standings.
He added: “We have a little bit of a balance mish-mash at the moment.
“The circuit is a lot grippier than last year and we are a little out the window with Max on the set-up.
“Tonight is going to be a busy night, with the engineers burning the midnight oil and undoubtedly coming back to the Milton Keynes factory.
“We know we have a great car so it’s just a matter of getting in that window.”