‘It’s not looking too good’ says Verstappen, as Red Bull struggle in opening Turkish GP practice sessions. Max Verstappen said that Red Bull have their work cut out to find a turn of pace in Turkey after he struggled with the balance of his car and finished fifth in Free Practice 2 on Friday.
Verstappen took P2 in FP1 behind championship rival Lewis Hamilton, but the Dutchman was more than four-tenths off the pace. When he returned in FP2, he was six-tenths off leader Hamilton and fifth overall, having complained on the radio of mid-corner instability.
After the session, he was asked where Red Bull could end up on Saturday, and replied: “I don’t know yet. I mean, hopefully of course it will improve – otherwise it’s not looking too good. We’ll see what we can do overnight. “I mean, we tried a few things compared to FP1 but also FP1 wasn’t that great,” he explained. “We’re still looking around a bit what to do. Of course it’s a bit different here; we don’t have a lot of data from here with these kind of cars so it seems like we have a bit of an evening ahead to try and make it a bit better because today wasn’t the best of days.”
Team mate Sergio Perez finished 10th in FP1 but recovered to fourth in FP2 having seemed to be more assured with his Red Bull’s balance, especially compared to Verstappen.
The Mexican said: “Overall, yes, a pretty challenging Friday. Mercedes looked strong, but hopefully overnight we are able to chip away a couple of tenths and be in the mix for tomorrow. “It’s all about compromise, you know?” he added. “I think if you try to get the ideal balance for quali on one lap, you compromise a bit too much the long run pace, which is important around here because overtaking is relatively easy. I expect some cars are going to try it on Sunday if it’s dry. But other than that, I think [it was a] positive Friday and hopefully we are able to chip a couple of tenths away and we should be looking good,” concluded Perez.
Red Bull are 33 points behind Mercedes – and Verstappen two points behind Hamilton – in the title fight, but with the Briton taking a 10-place grid penalty on Sunday, this could be Verstappen’s weekend after all…
Norris says strong pace in opening Turkey practice sessions helping him get over Sochi disappointment. After losing out on a potential maiden win in Russia, Lando Norris was relieved to return to his McLaren MCL35M as he finished in the top seven in both Friday practice sessions for the Turkish Grand Prix. And although team mate Daniel Ricciardo couldn’t break into the top 10, he said there was no reason to worry on Friday…
Norris’s hopes of a first Grand Prix victory were dashed at Sochi when the rain struck, and the McLaren driver cut an understandably dejected figure after that race. But here in Turkey, he was back to his chipper self – the pain of that disappointment clearly behind him – after finishing seventh in FP1 and sixth in FP2.
Asked if it helped being back in the car for Turkish GP practice, he said: “Of course. Yes, it feels like forever when you have a bad weekend, you just want to keep going again and you kind of get it out of the way by getting another one in.
“Since Sochi, it’s felt like quite a long time. I mean, I’ve been quite busy in the week since then, just taking my mind off it a lot, but definitely just getting back to the main job, getting back into a Formula 1 [car] has taken my mind off it and yes, it’s still probably come up in every briefing we’ve talked about so far reminding us about the things we have learned. Nothing bad, but excited to be back here, another weekend,” he added.
As for Ricciardo, the Australian couldn’t string together a representative flying lap in either FP1 or FP2, ending up a respective P12 and P14 in the two Friday sessions. Yet he saw no reason to worry, as he put it in his own inimitable way.
“For the fans of RIC 3, DR3, Daniel that is me, I wouldn’t be concerned,” he began. “It was just I didn’t put the lap together. But I’m actually pretty relaxed. I think we know where we are. I think we’re… there or thereabouts. And a bit of fine-tuning tonight.
Antonio Giovinazzi is a driver fighting for his F1 future. But the Italian showed promising pace in Free Practice 2 for the Turkish Grand Prix, leading Giovinazzi to target what would be a third Q3 appearance in the past four races at Istanbul Park.
Doubts continue to hang over Giovinazzi regarding his F1 future, with Alfa Romeo Team Principal Fred Vasseur admitting in Friday’s press conference that the team were in no rush to select the driver who would partner Valtteri Bottas at the team next year.But Giovinazzi put that to the back of his mind to go 10th fastest in Free Practice 2 at Istanbul Park – much to the Italian’s pleasure.
“I think today was a positive Friday,” said Giovinazzi. “We found for sure conditions much better, much more grip compared to last year and it’s a lot better. It’s another track I enjoy a lot more now. Of course this is more easy to find something in the car, so we’ll see tomorrow.”
Such was Giovinazzi’s pace that the Alfa Romeo driver felt confident of claiming his third top 10 appearance in qualifying in the past four races – Giovinazzi having started the Dutch and Italian Grands Prix in P7 – as long as the weather held…
“To be honest we still have the question mark of the weather,” said Giovinazzi. “I think in the correct conditions like we saw already in Zandvoort and Monza, the speed is there, so I’m happy for our Friday today. I think the pace was good and we can do a good job tomorrow. I think if it is dry we can [make Q3], we just need to see if it is wet what we can do.”