Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton qualified fastest at Istanbul Park on Saturday but will drop to 11th on the grid after a 10-place grid penalty is applied for moving onto a new engine this weekend. 

Hamilton outpaced teammate Valtteri Bottas and title rival Max Verstappen in qualifying but his penalty means it is the Finn who will line up on pole. Bottas therefore claims the statistic in the official record books for his 18th career pole. 

There have several similar incidents in the past, including seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher losing his sensational pole in qualifying at the 2012 Monaco Grand Prix due to carrying a five-place grid penalty for causing a collision with Williams driver Bruno Senna at the previous round in Spain. 

The outcome in Turkey caused some initial confusion between the top three in the post-qualifying press conference and led to the following, amusing discussion…

Hamilton: “Well, I still get recorded the pole, right? No? Ah, damn it.” 

Bottas: “Do I get the pole?”

Hamilton: “So he gets the pole.”

Verstappen: “I just don’t get that!”

Bottas: “So you need to give the tyre to me.”

Hamilton: “You can have the tyre. I don’t know where they go.”

Verstappen: “Lewis has a few spare.”

Bottas: “I don’t think it’s fair though.” 

Hamilton: “No, it’s alright.”

Bottas: “Even though it was my best pole [laughs].”

Verstappen: “Lewis is going to start his own tyre factory…” 

Two other anomalies have occurred this year on weekends when F1 has staged its experimental sprint race format. 

At the British Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton was fastest in qualifying but it was Verstappen who was awarded pole at Silverstone for winning the first-ever sprint race, something Sebastian Vettel slammed as being “wrong” and a “little bit confusing”.

The Red Bull driver was also officially awarded the statistical accolade of pole position at the second sprint race in Monza when Bottas dropped to the back of the field because of an engine penalty. 

So, should F1 and its governing body the FIA alter the way pole is recorded? 

“I don’t really know,” Hamilton said. “I mean I got pole. I don’t think the penalty should affect that necessarily. But I don’t really care to be honest.” 

Bottas has found himself on opposite ends of the current system; a loser in Italy and a benefactor in Turkey at the expense of his teammate.

And Bottas does not believe it is fair that the fastest driver is not classified as having pole in the record books, especially on sprint weekends. 

“I think on the sprint weekends, definitely the fastest man in qualifying should be handed the official pole award and pole position, for the records,” he said. 

“Also, in a situation like this, Lewis had the fastest single lap, he was technically on pole, but then after that his name drops out. So I don’t really think it’s fair. 

“Obviously, I would still happily take that tyre trophy and maybe next time it could be different.”

Two of Verstappen’s eight poles this year have come as a result of winning a sprint race, rather than setting the fastest lap in a qualifying session. 

Verstappen made his position on the matter clear, concluding: “The guy who does the fastest lap should deserve the pole position.”