Hamilton quickest in both Turkish GP FPs but faces 10 place grid penalty

Hamilton quickest in both Turkish GP FPs  but faces 10 place grid penalty

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton beat title rival Max Verstappen to the top of the timesheet in the opening practice session for this weekend’s Turkish Grand Prix, outpacing the Red Bull driver by over four tenths of a second. Charles Leclerc was third for Ferrari.
 

Following an extreme lack of grip last year on a brand new surface, this year’s first session took place on a track that has been water blasted to reveal more of the underlying material and drivers reported significant improvement in the levels of adhesion available around the 5.3km circuit. 


So much so that Hamilton was able to set a new track record with a lap of 1:24.178, just under six tenths faster than Juan Pablo Montoya's previous benchmark dating from all the way back in 2005. 


The positives of Hamilton’s were softened, however, by the revelation at the start of the session that Mercedes have made an engine change to his car and he will take a 10-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race. 


Hamilton led the early running in FP1 with a lap of 1:24.511 but when he moved to soft tyres soon after the midpoint of the session he quickly found his way to the new record time to eclipse Verstappen by 0.425 seconds.
 

Verstappen’s deficit to the champion was largely due to handling difficulties with his RB16B, with the Dutch driver saying that he was struggling with front-end grip throughout. 


Leclerc ended the session just five-hundredths of a second behind the Red Bull, while Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas took fourth place, six-tenths of a second off teammate Hamilton, while Carlos Sainz took the second Ferrari to fifth place. Sainz will also take an engine-related penalty on Sunday when he takes the upgraded PU introduced on Leclerc’s car in Russia. 


Sixth place in the session went to Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, with McLaren’s Lando Norris seventh ahead of AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly. Fernando Alonso finished ninth in the second Alpine and the final top 10 place was taken by Red Bull’s Sergio Pérez. 


2021 FIA Formula 1 Turkish Grand Prix – Free Practice 1
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:24.178 26 228.287
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Honda 1:24.603 0.425 24 227.140
3 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:24.654 0.476 27 227.004
4 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:24.842 0.664 28 226.501
5 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:24.860 0.682 25 226.452
6 Esteban Ocon Alpine/Renault 1:24.909 0.731 30 226.322
7 Lando Norris McLaren/Mercedes 1:25.347 1.169 26 225.160
8 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri/Honda 1:25.382 1.204 30 225.068
9 Fernando Alonso Alpine/Renault 1:25.383 1.205 26 225.065
10 Sergio Pérez Red Bull/Honda 1:25.459 1.281 24 224.865
11 George Russell Williams/Mercedes 1:25.685 1.507 25 224.272
12 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren/Mercedes 1:25.750 1.572 26 224.102
13 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin/Mercedes 1:25.810 1.632 26 223.945
14 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1:25.813 1.635 24 223.938
15 Nicholas Latifi Williams/Mercedes 1:25.863 1.685 28 223.807
16 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1:25.933 1.755 24 223.625
17 Lance Stroll Aston Martin/Mercedes 1:26.361 2.183 29 222.517
18 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri/Honda 1:26.424 2.246 28 222.354
19 Mick Schumacher Haas/Ferrari 1:26.636 2.458 25 221.810
20 Nikita Mazepin Haas/Ferrari 1:27.019 2.841 28 220.834

 

HAMILTON QUICKEST AGAIN AS VERSTAPPEN FINISHES IN FIFTH PLACE IN SECOND PRACTICE IN ISTANBUL


Lewis Hamilton went quickest for the second practice session in a row in Istanbul, beating Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc by just under two tenths of a second as Max Verstappen finished in fifth place over half a second off the pace.


Leclerc led the way on medium tyres at the beginning of the session but he was soon deposed by team-mate Carlos Sainz who set a benchmark of 1:25.819 using softs tyres. Red Bull’s Sergio Pérez then moved ahead on mediums with a lap of 1:25.278 before Mercedes’s Valtteri Bottas claimed top spot with a medium-tyre lap of 1m25.199. Leclerc moved to back to the top but Pérez brought the first phase of the session to a close with a new best time of 1:24.102.


There was a brief as cars returned to the pit lane to make the swich to soft tyres for qualifying runs.

Hamilton was the first of the frontrunners to make his move and he quickest with a time of 1:23.804. Leclerc then slotted into second place, finishing just 0.166s slower than the seven-time champion. Bottas then took third, while Perez finished fourth, half a second adrift.


Verstappen, though, continued to struggle with the understeer that had hampered his morning session and snaps of oversteer in mid-corner and on exit.


His first lap on softs left him almost nine tenths of a second off Hamilton’s pace and though his next flying closed the gap to 0.635s he will have plenty of work to do overnight to find a competitive balance for his car.


Lando Norris took sixth for McLaren, with Fernando Alonso seventh for Alpine. The Spaniard finished marginally ahead of team-mate Esteban Ocon while AlhphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly took P9 ahead of Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi.


At the end of the session Ocon went to the grid for a practice start but after stopping he was unable to select a gear and his car has to be recovered by marshals.


2021 FIA Formula 1 Turkish Grand Prix – Free Practice 2
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:23.804 30 229.306
2 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:23.970 0.166 29 228.853
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:24.214 0.410 31 228.190
4 Sergio Pérez Red Bull/Honda 1:24.373 0.569 28 227.760
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Honda 1:24.439 0.635 27 227.582
6 Lando Norris McLaren/Mercedes 1:24.525 0.721 24 227.350
7 Fernando Alonso Alpine/Renault 1:24.660 0.856 21 226.987
8 Esteban Ocon Alpine/Renault 1:24.672 0.868 26 226.955
9 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri/Honda 1:24.756 0.952 32 226.730
10 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1:24.796 0.992 29 226.623
11 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri/Honda 1:24.882 1.078 30 226.394
12 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:24.903 1.099 34 226.338
13 Lance Stroll Aston Martin/Mercedes 1:25.020 1.216 31 226.026
14 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren/Mercedes 1:25.060 1.256 23 225.920
15 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1:25.143 1.339 27 225.700
16 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin/Mercedes 1:25.229 1.425 30 225.472
17 Nicholas Latifi Williams/Mercedes 1:25.307 1.503 30 225.266
18 George Russell Williams/Mercedes 1:25.358 1.554 29 225.131
19 Mick Schumacher Haas/Ferrari 1:25.480 1.676 26 224.810
20 Nikita Mazepin Haas/Ferrari 1:25.698 1.894 25 224.238
 


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