Max Verstappen led Red Bull one-two in a largely meaningless Turkish Grand Prix first practice on Friday, preferring the Dutch youngster to driving on ice due to slippery track conditions.
The 23-year-old produced a best lap of one minute 35.077 seconds at the end of the session on the recently revived Istanbul track, whose lack of cold mornings created problems for all.
His time was more than 10 seconds slower than Sebastian Vettel’s 2011 poll time when the German was with Red Bull, 1: 25.049 on Formula One’s last previous trip to the circuit in the Asian side of Istanbul.
Thai teammate Alexander Albon was in second place, ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Lecler and Alfatouri’s Pierre Gasly, with Mercedes in a sort of wheelspin and slide order.
Vettel was the fifth fastest in his last few races for Ferrari before joining Aston Martin (Racing Point) the following season.
“It’s like driving on grass – less grip than on wet tracks,” commented Haas’s Kevin Magusen.
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, who looks set to seal his record-equaling seventh World Championship in Sunday’s race, was just 15 fastest and more than five seconds slower than Versten.
Briton said on the team’s radio that Pitt is asked when a practice begins, “It’s not a catch, it’s pointless to begin with.”
Teammate Valteri Bottas, who mathematically needed eight points more than Hamilton to stay in contention, was the ninth fastest, with the main priority being to bring some rubber down the track.
“It’s all about the tire temperature, which the team finished one-two in 2011,” said Red Bull boss Christian Horner. If so, slipping from there is like walking on ice in many ways. “
Carlos Sainz of McLaren first stopped on the side of the track after suffering an electrical problem. His teammate Lando Norris celebrated his 21st birthday, the seventh fastest.
A red flag was shown within minutes of the start of the session after Ferrari slipped into Lecler marking the pit entering the pit.
Track crews were previously seen chasing a stray dog, which was reported to have caught any cars on the track before exiting.
(Writing by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Toby Davis)
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