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Result: Lance Stroll tops qualifying in rain-soaked Turkish Grand Prix

Result: Lance Stroll tops qualifying in rain-soaked Turkish Grand Prix
© Reuters
Lance Stroll is a surprise presence at the front of the grid.

Lance Stroll will start Sunday's Turkish Grand Prix from pole position following one of the biggest upsets in recent Formula One memory.

Stroll and his Racing Point team excelled in the wet conditions at the Istanbul Park circuit to see off Red Bull's Max Verstappen by two tenths. Sergio Perez finished third in the other Racing Point.

Lewis Hamilton will start his bid to become a seven-time world champion from sixth on the grid. Hamilton, so often the master of the slippery conditions, was an eye-watering 4.7 seconds slower than Stroll.

Hamilton's Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas, the only driver still mathematically in the title race, finished ninth. If the order remains that way here on Sunday, Hamilton will match Michael Schumacher's championship haul.

"I cannot put it into words right now," said Stroll, 22, who missed the Eifel Grand Prix last month through illness and subsequently tested positive for coronavirus.

"I am shocked and I did not expect to be up here.  We didn't look too competitive but I am so happy now.

"I put that lap together and I was under so much pressure. I had the confidence in the car and I just nailed every corner and it is such a nice way to bounce back after a few rough weeks. It is the highlight of my career. This is what we dream about."

Verstappen has impressed all weekend on F1's first visit to the Istanbul Park Circuit since 2011 and he looked set to claim his third career pole.

But Racing Point pulled off a masterstroke by putting both of their drivers on the quicker intermediate tyre for the start of Q3. Verstappen changed from the extreme wets to the inter tyres but could not match Stroll's pace.

Stroll's shock pole here ends Mercedes' run of starting from pole at every round of this Covid-disturbed campaign.

Hamilton needs to finish ahead of Bottas to be sure of the title, and although he will be staggered to be so far off the pace, the six-time world champion, who went over to congratulate Stroll, will no history still beckons for him on Sunday.

Qualifying took the best part of two hours to complete after Q1, the opening 18-minute running, was suspended on two occasions.

After just 10 minutes of action, race director Michael Masi deemed the conditions were too dangerous as rain continued to lash the venue 30 miles east of Istanbul.

A 45-minute delay ensued as Bernd Maylander pounded round the track in his safety car while a truck was also sent out in a bid to remove some of the standing water.

Masi gave the green light for qualifying to resume at just before 4pm local time, but the session was suspended only three-and-a-half minutes later when Romain Grosjean beached his Haas at the opening bend.

With Grosjean's Haas removed Q1 eventually finished, one hour and 10 minutes after it started.

Both Ferraris were dumped out of Q2 with Sebastian Vettel 12th and Charles Leclerc 14th.

Stroll then provided a major upset in Q3, becoming the first Canadian pole-sitter since Jacques Villeneuve 23 years ago.

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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
United StatesUnited States1011930
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia78520
Great BritainGreat Britain56516
Today's Olympic highlights header

Thursday's key events

· Comeback queen and super-mum Helen Glover goes for her third Olympic gold alongside Polly Swann in the women's pair final (1.30am)
· There is also a medal on offer for GB pair Emily Craig and Imogen Grant in the lightweight women's double scull final (2.10am)

· As second-fastest qualifier for the final, Team GB's James Wilby is among the medal contenders in the men's 200m breaststroke (2.44am)
· Alys Thomas takes part in the women's 200m butterfly final, although he faces a difficult task to challenge for the medals (3.28am)
· Caeleb Dressel of the USA has been touted by some as the successor to Michael Phelps, and he has the chance to notch up a fourth Olympic gold in the men's 100m freestyle final (3.37am)

· After Team GB's men narrowly missed out on a medal, the women get their campaign underway against the Russian Olympic Committee (3am) and New Zealand (10.30am)

· It is a Great Britain vs. Netherlands double-header, with the men up first in Pool B (4.15am)
· Most eyes will be on the women's showdown between the two nations, though, as Netherlands - the world's best team - look to gain revenge on GB for defeat in the 2016 Olympic final (11am)

· Mallory Franklin takes part in the women's canoe semi-final, and will hope to do enough to qualify for the final later in the day (6am-8.45am)

· With Simone Biles now out of the women's all-around final, the competition has been blown wide open. Team GB twins Jessica and Jennifer Gadirova are among those taking part (11.50am-2.05pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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