Daniel Ricciardo compared the wet track surface at Intercity Istanbul Park to driving on an ice rink, although the Renault DP World F1 Team racer is handily placed on the grid in fifth.
The Australian felt the conditions in Qualifying for the Turkish Grand Prix were the slipperiest he has ever experienced during his Formula 1 career, and it meant he had to systematically work through the three Qualifying sessions to get the best out of the car.
Ricciardo stayed on the full wet tyre during Q3 where others switched to the intermediates, but he managed to keep the life in his tyres through to the chequered flag and was rewarded with a place inside the top five on the grid.
“I thought yesterday was unique but today was something else!” said Ricciardo. “It was by far the slipperiest conditions we’ve ever experienced in Formula 1.
“It was so unpredictable, and I would compare it to driving on a skid pan. There was no sign as to where the grip was in the corners, and I wasn’t getting much feedback from the track either.
“I didn’t go all guns blazing in Q1, and I kept chipping away at it throughout Q2 and Q3 and to end fifth at the chequered flag is a decent result. It’s so much more taxing mentally when conditions are like this.
“I’m pretty sure I wasn’t blinking during a lap. It’ll be an interesting race tomorrow regardless if it’s wet or dry.”
“It was pretty tricky out there in very slippery conditions” – Esteban Ocon
Team-mate Esteban Ocon ended just over a second down on Ricciardo and will start seventh, but the Frenchman felt the decision to run the intermediate tyre at the start of Q3 ultimately cost them a chance of a top five place on the grid.
Ocon switched from the intermediate back to the full wet tyre for his final run, but time ran out on him before he could get the best out of them, with only one quick lap possible before the chequered flag fell.
“It was pretty tricky out there in very slippery conditions,” reflected Ocon. “It was maybe the most slippery conditions I’ve ever driven, but it’s the same for everyone and we tried to get the maximum out of the car.
“I felt we did well in Q1 and Q2, but not quite so good in Q3. We probably made the wrong decision to run Intermediates at the start instead of Wets as I felt we could have been in the top five. It was a good lap for seventh, but it was my only push lap on that set, so maybe with a few more laps, I could have been up there.
“There will be plenty of opportunities tomorrow. We don’t know about the weather yet, so let’s see.”
“We’re happy with today’s qualifying session” – Alan Permane
Alan Permane, the Sporting Director at Renault, says it was pleasing to see both drivers qualifying inside the top ten in what was a far from easy Qualifying session in Turkey.
Permane said they tried the intermediate tyre with Ocon in a bid to take advantage of the ever-improving track surface, but he was just not able to generate enough heat in them to make them work.
“We’re happy with today’s qualifying session with both drivers inside the top ten,” said Permane. “It’s never easy in these conditions and I think especially when it’s on the cusp of choosing between full Wet tyres or Intermediate tyres; it’s does make the strategy very tricky.
“We tried Intermediates with Esteban in Q3 and he couldn’t seem to make them work so we reverted him back to the full Wet.
“We’re pleased with the day and we look forward to a good race tomorrow, whether it’s wet or dry.”