September 25, 2021

Verstappen tops Turkey practice on ice-like track

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By James Galloway

Last Updated: 13/11/20 9:46am

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Valtteri Bottas spun at Turn 8 during Practice One ahead of the Turkish GP

Valtteri Bottas spun at Turn 8 during Practice One ahead of the Turkish GP

Max Verstappen headed a Red Bull one-two in the opening practice session of F1’s return to Istanbul Park, but conditions meant the Turkish GP weekend began amid largely unrepresentative conditions.

The sport’s first running around the undulating circuit in nine years coincided with particularly challenging Friday-morning conditions for drivers – cold temperatures and a newly-laid asphalt, that had also been washed ahead of the session.

“Woah… mate it’s like driving on ice!” reported Verstappen on his first lap out of the pits.

Conditions slowly improved through the session as more cars ventured out onto the track, but several drivers spun while others ran off the circuit.

Verstappen set the session’s best lap right at the end of the 90 minutes with a 1:35.077, finishing two tenths ahead of team-mate Alex Albon.

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F1’s drivers were pleased to return to Istanbul Park circuit – and this is why. A brilliant aerial view of Istanbul Park’s track

F1’s drivers were pleased to return to Istanbul Park circuit – and this is why. A brilliant aerial view of Istanbul Park’s track

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was third with Pierre Gasly fourth for AlphaTauri. Mercedes drivers Valtteri Bottas, who spun at Turn Nine, and Lewis Hamilton finished ninth and 15th respectively.

“It’s like a wet session,” said Karun Chandhok in the Sky F1 commentary box. “It’s impossible to read into what’s happened in this session.”

More to follow…