Lewis Hamilton was fastest in first practice for the Turkish Grand Prix going four-tenths faster than his championship rival Max Verstappen. The Mercedes driver set his fastest time setting a 24.178, but he will have a ten-place grid penalty for taking a new ICE unit.
Conditions at Istanbul Park proved to be a lot better than last November with all the cars appearing to be more settled on track. Lap times were over ten seconds faster than in this session last year, the session didn’t see any major drama. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was third fastest a further five hundredths behind.
Hamilton posted multiple track records, with the Mercedes looking to be comfortable around Istanbul Park, a circuit expected to favour them this weekend. The session was without incident and had a lot more grip allowing drivers to push last November the resurfaced track and oils seeping out of the bitumen caused an extreme lack of grip.
Hamilton however will go into the race with a ten-place grid penalty for taking a fourth ICE unit. His title rival Verstappen appeared to struggle more with the lack of grip on circuit, but that could be a Red Bull issue as his teammate Sergio Perez also complained and finished the session down in tenth, eight tenths behind.
Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas was fourth fastest, six hundredths behind his teammate with Carlos Sainz fifth fastest. The Englishman currently leads Verstappen by two points in the driver’s championship.
Bottas will have a key role to play this weekend in limiting the damage as Hamilton has a penalty, he will be looking to take as many points away from Verstappen as possible.
Ferrari looking to be the strongest at this early phase in the weekend of the midfield group, Sainz two hundredths behind Bottas. Sainz will start at the back of the grid after taking a full power unit change.
Esteban Ocon put his Alpine sixth-fastest going four tenths faster than the McLaren of Lando Norris. Ocon’s time was decent as while he was seven-tenths behind Hamilton, his time was set on the hard tyres, that means that there could be more pace for the team to find.
Pierre Gasly put his Alpha Tauri eighth going only a thousandth faster than the Alpine of Fernando Alonso, with the second Red Bull of Perez rounding out the top ten. George Russell continued with his strong form, he put his Williams eleventh fastest missing out on the top ten by just under seven hundredths.
Daniel Ricciardo put his McLaren twelfth fastest going two hundredths of a second faster than his former teammate Sebastian Vettel. Antonio Giovinazzi was fourteenth going eight tenths quicker than the Williams of Nicolas Latifi, with Giovinazzi’s teammate Kimi Räikkönen sixteenth.
Lance Stroll was seventeenth going two tenths faster than the Alpha Tauri of Yuki Tsunoda. The Two Haas’s rounded out the field, Mick Schumacher going just under four tenths faster than teammate Nikita Mazepin.