Lance Stroll admitted it was a challenging day at the Intercity Istanbul Park for the BWT Racing Point Formula One Team, although he was happy to have experienced the track for the first time in his career.
The Canadian, who has failed to score a point since he finished on the podium in the Italian Grand Prix at the beginning of September, with the five race run seeing him drop outside of the top ten in the Drivers’ Championship.
Stroll says it was a difficult Friday due to the lack of grip around the track, but he knows it is up to them to get the best out of the conditions in order to challenge for Q3 on Saturday and points on Sunday.
“It was great to experience Istanbul Park for the first time, but it was very challenging out there,” said Stroll. “It’s a new asphalt and it’s very fresh, which makes it tricky because the grip level is very low.
“I wouldn’t expect it to improve significantly over the weekend, so that challenge is going to remain throughout the event. All the drivers and teams are in the same boat, so it’s about who can get to grips with the circuit best and I’m looking forward to seeing how it plays out tomorrow.
“Qualifying will be about figuring out the best strategy and considering how best to use the harder compound here in Turkey – it’s definitely not a one-lap tyre. We’ll go away and look over everything we learned today and come back tomorrow stronger.”
“It’s very slippery and I think it will be like that all weekend” – Sergio Pérez
Team-mate Sergio Pérez agreed with Stroll, feeling the track conditions are likely to remain difficult throughout the weekend.
The Mexican was unable to break into the top ten in either of the free practice sessions, finishing twelfth in the morning and eleventh in the afternoon, although he knows there is plenty of time still to find across the rest of the weekend.
Pérez believes getting the strategy correct is going to be very important this weekend, but he is confident the team are working in the right direction to get the best out of the RP20 on Saturday and Sunday.
“It was very tricky out there today and it’s not just because of the colder temperatures – the lack of grip is a real factor too,” said Pérez. “When I did the track walk yesterday it was like walking on a marble floor, almost like your kitchen surface at home!
“It’s very slippery and I think it will be like that all weekend. It’s a shame we weren’t able to really experience the full impact of a lap around Istanbul Park, because it’s such a challenge and a great track, but I’m confident we’ll have a really exciting weekend here and that there will be plenty of opportunities for us.
“From what we’ve learned today, the strategy is going to be key and getting it right could be a big advantage. We’ve definitely learned a lot today and I’m confident we’re going in the right direction. The midfield battle is looking very close this weekend and hopefully we can get towards the front of it starting tomorrow.”