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Rain stops Turkish Grand Prix qualifying

Turkish Grand Prix qualifying was red-flagged on Saturday after heavy rain made driving conditions hazardous on the freshly-resurfaced circuit in Istanbul.

The first qualifying session was interrupted with almost seven minutes still to go with Renault’s Esteban Ocon at the top of the time sheets.

“It’s raining, crazy” said Lewis Hamilton over the Mercedes team radio.

The action resumed after a 44 minute hiatus when the rain relented and the track was cleared of standing water.

There were six minutes and 56 seconds of the opening Q1 session remaining when the session was stopped after the drivers had struggled to avoid accidents and collisions.

Ocon led the times ahead of Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes and Lance Stroll of Racing Point.

Six-time champion Hamilton who is seeking to seal a record-equalling seventh title triumph in Sunday’s race, held fourth place in the second Mercedes.

Red Bull’s Verstappen, who had topped the times in all three of the rain-affected and cold practice sessions, was 15th after making an early start to the action.

Four minutes after re-starting, the session was red-flagged again when Romain Grosjean went off into the gravel in his Haas.

“I am stuck, I am stuck” he cried on team radio.

The Frenchman’s exit was bad news for Charles Leclerc who ran off in his Ferrari after a spin, but recovered.

Leclerc was 16th and appeared set to be eliminated from Q1 unless he could improve his time in a final effort in the final minutes.

Once it re-started for a second time Leclerc duly assured his progress into Q2 behind Verstappen with Hamilton scraping through in 14th.

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