Formula 1

Verstappen fastest in FP3 as challenging conditions plague Istanbul Park

2 Mins read
Red Bull - Istanbul 2020
Credit: Red Bull Content Pool

It’s Qualifying day at the Intercity Istanbul Park circuit, and it was Max Verstappen who topped the tables of the final practice session to round off a hattrick of practice sessions led.

Prior to the session, Pirelli increased the mandatory tyre pressures due to the huge energy loads witnessed the day before. The track was battered with rain overnight as well, meaning drivers had a plethora of challenges to contend with in Free Practice Three. Race director Michael Masi also added turn six to the regulated track-limits zones, and warned that any infringements to these regulations would result in laptime deletions.

The session began at 09:00 GMT amidst light rain and cloudy skies, and Romain Grosjean was the first out the garage to face the tricky conditions. Those out on circuit first were reporting a ‘very smooth track’ with ‘little grip’.

All drivers were out early- wrestling with the slippery surface in order to gain the valuable track time, and less than ten minutes in Sergio Perez binned it and spun round getting on the throttle in the first sector. Esteban Ocon followed suit shortly after because of a tap from Charles Leclerc, and subsequent spins plagued the morning.

A sequence of spins eleven minutes in signalled a need for full-wet tyres as the rain made it’s way closer to the circuit. The grease of the track didn’t make the task at hand easier, either, and laptimes were way off even that of yesterday. Daniil Kvyat highlighted how hard it was to keep temperature in the tyres due to the resurfaced track and wet weather, and his rather frustrated radio message undoubtedly aired the thoughts of all the drivers.

At around the halfway mark of the session, the rain got even more unforgiving. Carlos Sainz Jr. spun his McLaren MCL-35 and narrowly avoided the barriers, whilst the rest of the field retired to the pits. No one dared to challenge the track until conditions relented in fear of crashing and sabotaging their Qualifying later on.

Some drivers came out for a final test of their mettle with ten minutes to go, and Antonio Giovinazzi was one of them. Unfortunately for him, he spun twice in one lap and caused some minor damage to the front wing endplates of his Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN C39.

Even six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton struggled in the awkward weather. The Brit called the conditions ‘shocking’ and couldn’t manage to set a time at all in the session.

At the end of the hour-long practice, it was Verstappen, Leclerc and Alexander Albon who completed the top three. Although these times aren’t necessarily representative, it shows who is confident and who is not around the Istanbul Park circuit. Notably, neither Bottas nor Hamilton could break into the top five.

Free Practice Three Timings:

133Max VerstappenNEDAston Martin Red Bull Racing1:48.4856
216Charles LeclercMONScuderia Ferrari1:49.4300.945s9
323Alexander AlbonTHAAston Martin Red Bull Racing1:50.0591.574s5
431Esteban OconFRARenault DP World F1 Team1:53.8975.412s9
54Lando NorrisGBRMcLaren F1 Team1:53.9955.510s7
65Sebastian VettelGERScuderia Ferrari1:54.4906.005s14
711Sergio PérezMEXBWT Racing Point Formula One Team1:55.5777.092s6
877Valtteri BottasFINMercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team1:55.6667.181s4
920Kevin MagnussenDENHaas F1 Team1:55.8787.393s4
1018Lance StrollCANBWT Racing Point Formula One Team1:56.8248.339s5
113Daniel RicciardoAUSRenault DP World F1 Team1:58.4759.990s6
1255Carlos Sainz Jr.ESPMcLaren F1 Team1:59.54811.063s7
1399Antonio GiovinazziITAAlfa Romeo Racing2:02.32513.840s10
1410Pierre GaslyFRAScuderia AlphaTauri Honda2:02.47313.988s7
158Romain GrosjeanFRAHaas F1 Team2:04.74816.263s5
167Kimi RäikkönenFINAlfa Romeo Racing2:06.35117.866s12
1726Daniil KvyatRUSScuderia AlphaTauri Honda2:09.36820.883s8
1863George RussellGBRWilliams Racing1
196Nicholas LatifiCANWilliams Racing1
2044Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team3
Related posts
Formula 1

"There’s no point to do anything that will damage the cars so you can’t finish the race" - Steiner

1 Mins read
The Spanish Grand Prix was yet another challenge for the Uralkali Haas F1 Team as they continue their horrid run of form.
Formula 1

"We knew it was going to be a tough" - Schumacher

2 Mins read
Mick Schumacher again came home as top Haas at Barcelona, whilst Nikita Mazepin managed to annoy Toto Wolff
Formula 1

Pierre Gasly Feels That The AT02 Still Has Potential

2 Mins read
Coming away with 1 point from the Spanish GP wouldn’t have been the result the AlphaTauri team would’ve been hoping for, but both drivers have faith in the team to put in long hours and improve the AT02.

Leave a Reply