Lewis Hamilton started the opening day for the Turkish Grand Prix in top form, setting the fastest time of the first practice. His championship rival Max Verstappen finished almost half a second behind in P2 after struggling with front-end grip through the entire session.
The Turkish Grand Prix made its return on the Formula One schedule last year and it has been drafted in this year again as the replacement for the Japanese Grand Prix that was cancelled for the second consecutive time. The Istanbul track caused the drivers some headaches last year as the resurfaced track offered low grip while showers spiced up the action on Saturday and Sunday.
The track was seemingly in a much better condition in Free Practice 1 this morning as times were significantly better than they were last year on the opening day.
Just ahead of the first practice, Mercedes announced that it elected to fit a fresh Formula 1 engine in to Hamilton’s car. As this engine will be the fourth unit for the Briton with only three allowed for the entire season, Hamilton will take a 10-place grid penalty at Sunday’s Turkish Grand Prix. However, the penalty did not stop Hamilton from going fastest in the first session with a time of 1m24.178s.
Both Red Bull drivers suffered from a lack of front-end grip, but Max Verstappen managed to end the session directly behind Hamilton, but the Dutchman was 0.425s shy of the championship leader. His team mate Sergio Perez complained about the same issues regarding the balance of the visually re-designed RB16B, and the Mexican was unable to finish higher than P10.
Ferrari made a strong first impression with Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz ending up third and fifth quickest. The Spaniard faces a difficult weekened as he is set to start Sunday's race from the back of the field after taking on his fourth power unit.
Rounding out the order came the second Alfa Romeo of Kimi Raikkonen in 16th, Aston Martin's Lance Stroll in P17, followed by the rookie trio of Yuki Tsunoda and the Haas pairing of Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin.
|2||33||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Honda||1:24.603||+0.425s||23|
|6||31||Esteban Ocon||Alpine Renault||1:24.909||+0.731s||29|
|7||4||Lando Norris||Mclaren Mercedes||1:25.347||+1.169s||25|
|8||10||Pierre Gasly||Alphatauri Honda||1:25.382||+1.204s||29|
|9||14||Fernando Alonso||Alpine Renault||1:25.383||+1.205s||25|
|10||11||Sergio Perez||Red Bull Racing Honda||1:25.459||+1.281s||23|
|11||63||George Russell||Williams Mercedes||1:25.685||+1.507s||24|
|12||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Mclaren Mercedes||1:25.750||+1.572s||25|
|13||5||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin Mercedes||1:25.810||+1.632s||25|
|14||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||1:25.813||+1.635s||23|
|15||6||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Mercedes||1:25.863||+1.685s||27|
|16||7||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||1:25.933||+1.755s||23|
|17||18||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin Mercedes||1:26.361||+2.183s||28|
|18||22||Yuki Tsunoda||Alphatauri Honda||1:26.424||+2.246s||27|
|19||47||Mick Schumacher||Haas Ferrari||1:26.636||+2.458s||24|
|20||9||Nikita Mazepin||Haas Ferrari||1:27.019||+2.841s||27|