until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Formula 1

Red Bull 1-2 amid crazy track conditions in Turkey practice

by Matt Beer
2 min read

Red Bull took a 1-2 with Max Verstappen and Alex Albon in opening Turkish Grand Prix practice, but a wildly slippery circuit meant the session was virtually meaningless.

The combination of the track having been resurfaced a month ago and washed early in the morning, plus low temperatures, left the field sliding around helplessly and lapping woefully off the pace in conditions akin to driving on ice.

Amid incessant wheelspin, countless trips over run-off areas, and an early red flag to retrieve a marker bollard wiped out by Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari, Valtteri Bottas was left alone on the track for a long period while everyone else watched his vain attempts to put some rubber down and get to a competitive lap time.

Bottas eventually reached a 1m43.009s, a full 18s slower than the pole time from F1’s last visit to Istanbul in 2011.

Verstappen was next to take up pacesetting duties, alternating on top with Bottas for a while, before Ferrari appeared in a now-unusual 1-2 with Leclerc ahead of Vettel.

Albon deposed the Ferraris and held first place until Verstappen nipped ahead of him by 0.241s with a late 1m35.077s before emphasising how bad conditions remained by spinning on his in-lap.

Verstappen’s benchmark time was still 10s off the 2011 pole, while a massive 14s spread covered the 20-car field.

The Ferraris stayed near the front in third and fifth, alternating with the AlphaTauris of Pierre Gasly and Daniil Kvyat – who also both spun.

Lando Norris began his 21st birthday with seventh place for McLaren, followed by Antonio Giovinazzi, Bottas (another late spinner) and Esteban Ocon.

Lewis Hamilton – who can clinch the 2020 title this weekend – described the lack of grip as some of the worst track conditions he’d ever encountered, and was 5s off the pace in 15th.

While many teams limited their mileage by choice while waiting for the track to become useable, Carlos Sainz Jr had little option.

What McLaren hoped were just electronic problems led to him being called into the garage for attention, and then stopping out on track when he rejoined following initial repairs.

Practice 1 Results

Pos Name Car Best Time Gap Leader
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1m35.077s
2 Alex Albon Red Bull-Honda 1m35.318s +0.241s
3 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1m35.507s +0.43s
4 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 1m35.543s +0.466s
5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m35.62s +0.543s
6 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri-Honda 1m36.738s +1.661s
7 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 1m37.216s +2.139s
8 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m37.216s +2.139s
9 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m37.629s +2.552s
10 Esteban Ocon Renault 1m38.428s +3.351s
11 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 1m38.508s +3.431s
12 Sergio Pérez Racing Point-Mercedes 1m38.612s +3.535s
13 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 1m39.484s +4.407s
14 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1m40.025s +4.948s
15 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m40.225s +5.148s
16 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m41.035s +5.958s
17 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1m41.854s +6.777s
18 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1m45.156s +10.079s
19 Carlos Sainz McLaren-Renault 1m46.462s +11.385s
20 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1m49.256s +14.179s
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