Turkey, FP1: Verstappen tops opening practice on slippery Istanbul track 

Albon 2nd, Leclerc 3rd

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By Olivier Ferret

13 November 2020 - 10:36
Turkey, FP1: Verstappen tops opening

Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen topped the opening practice session for this weekend’s FIA Formula 1 Turkish Grand Prix, with the Dutch driver beating team-mate Alex Albon by more than two tenths of a second in a session defined by the slippery nature of the recently re-surfaced Istanbul Park circuit.

Verstappen’s timesheet-topping lap of 1:35.077 was a full 10 seconds slower than the pole lap time set by Sebastian Vettel when F1 last visited Istanbul in 2011.

The treacherous conditions were revealed as soon as cars left the pit lane with drivers slithering around through the opening corners. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc then brought out the red flags when he slid wide ion the final corner and knocked over a bollard marking the pit lane entrance.

The collision exposed bolts on the track and there was a brief delay while the bollard was replaced.

Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas was the first to find some real grip on the surface and he steadily chipped away at the P1 time before reaching 1:43.009 a third of the way through the session.

Verstappen then went quickest with a hard-tyre lap of 1:42.753s and then dropped the benchmark to 1:41.741 before Bottas re-took top spot with a lap of 1:39.204 just before the hour mark. Verstappen then improved again to 1:37.151s.

The Red Bull driver held top spot for some time until he was dropped back Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who set a time of 1:36.085. Team-mate Charles Leclerc then took P2

Verstappen’s team-mate Albon went quickest as the final five minutes of the session arrived, setting a lap of 1:35.318s on hard compound tyres but Verstappen was not to be denied and three minutes later he claimed P1 with his lap of 1:35.077.

Albon held P2 at the flag ahead of Leclerc, while AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly took fourth place on medium tyres. Vettel finished fifth ahead of the second Alpha Tauri of Daniil Kvyat, McLaren’s Lando Norris and the Alfa Romeo of Antonio Giovinazzi. Ninth place went to Bottas, with Esteban Ocon 10th, while championship leader Lewis Hamilton finished 15th after only setting times in the final 20 minutes of the session.

Pos.DriverCarTimeLaps
01 Max Verstappen Red Bull Honda RB16 1:35.077 29
02 Alex Albon Red Bull Honda RB16 1:35.318 27
03 Charles Leclerc Ferrari SF1000 1:35.507 26
04 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri Honda AT01 1:35.543 26
05 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari SF1000 1:35.620 29
06 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri Honda AT01 1:36.738 27
07 Lando Norris McLaren Renault MCL35 1:37.216 21
08 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Ferrari C39 1:37.503 21
09 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes W11 1:37.629 23
10 Esteban Ocon Renault RS20 1:38.428 23
11 Nicholas Latifi Williams Mercedes FW43 1:38.508 18
12 Sergio Perez Racing Point Mercedes RP20 1:38.612 22
13 Lance Stroll Racing Point Mercedes RP20 1:39.484 21
14 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari VF-20 1:40.025 25
15 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W11 1:40.225 12
16 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Ferrari C39 1:41.035 23
17 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari VF-20 1:41.854 21
18 Daniel Ricciardo Renault RS20 1:45.156 20
19 Carlos Sainz McLaren Renault MCL35 1:46.462 12
20 George Russell Williams Mercedes FW43 1:49.256 17

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