ISTANBUL, Turkey – Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen led the way during both Friday practice sessions for the Turkish Grand Prix at Istanbul Park Circuit.
With drivers battling a combination of hard Pirelli tire compounds and a slick new track surface at the 3.317-mile, 14-turn circuit, Verstappen posted the fastest lap time in both FP1 and FP2.
Verstappen’s best time for the day was 1:28.330, set during FP2.
“I think overall for us it was quite a positive day and the car is working well, so I’m pretty happy about that,” noted Verstappen. “I think the prep we did before we got here was good, but then of course we also did well to react to the conditions out on track. It is very slippery out there, but at the end of the day it’s the same for everyone, so we just have to adapt to it. I think we are all still about five seconds off where we should be on this track.
“I hope it’s not going to rain, because then we may actually need spikes [on the tires]! I don’t think softer tires would have made a difference; we did go faster when going from a hard to a soft [compound], but it’s just the grip on the tarmac,” he added. “For sure Mercedes will get it together tomorrow, so now I just hope we can have a competitive qualifying [effort] and in the race we will see what happens.”
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc landed second for the day, four tenths of a second back of Verstappen, followed by the Mercedes pair of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton.
Both Bottas and Hamilton suffered spins in FP1, while Hamilton later called the Istanbul track surface “terrifying” and “like an ice rink out there.”
The second Red Bull of Alex Albon was fifth quick, ahead of AlphaTauri’s Daniil Kvyat and Pierre Gasly, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, Racing Point’s
Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo, a two-time podium finisher in recent weeks, was a disappointing 15th during Friday practice in Turkey.
All 20 drivers posted times in FP2 that were quicker than Verstappen’s best time in FP1, a lap of 1:35.077.