Turkey, FP1: Verstappen tops opening practice on slippery Istanbul track
Albon 2nd, Leclerc 3rd
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.
|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|