Lewis Hamilton FAILS to set a time as Max Verstappen goes quickest in final practice for the Turkish Grand Prix… but once again session is marred by low grip track and heavy rain
- Final practice for Turkish Grand Prix was dominated by talk over track surface
- Like Friday’s sessions drivers complained of the surface like ‘driving on ice’
- Issues were only heightened by the intensifying rain during the hour session
- Max Verstappen though followed up on Friday showing to go quickest
- Lewis Hamilton was one of three drivers who opted not to set a time in Istanbul
- Charles Leclerc was second for Ferrari while Alex Albon rounded out top three
Max Verstappen completed a free practice clean sweep ahead of this weekend’s Turkish Grand Prix, but slippery track conditions once again proved the main talking point in Istanbul.
The majority of the drivers complained throughout Friday over the severe lack of grip the newly resurfaced Istanbul Park was producing but rain on Saturday exacerbated the problem further in the final session before qualifying.
Verstappen though was quickest once again for Red Bull, with Lewis Hamilton one of three drivers down at the bottom having failed to set a lap time after choosing to stay in the garage.
Lewis Hamilton failed to set a time having run through a few exploratory laps in final practice
Max Verstappen was fastest for Red Bull in the final practice session for the Turkish Grand Prix
The Dutchman completed a final practice clean sweep having been fastest throughout Friday
Charles Leclerc was once more an impressive second for Ferrari while Verstappen’s Red Bull team-mate Alex Albon was third.
Hamilton heads into the weekend knowing he only has to finish ahead of Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas to match Michael Schumacher’s record of seven world championships but he was far from happy with track conitions.
‘This is as close to driving on ice as you can get,’ Hamilton said over the radio. He completed another short trip to the circuit in the closing stages, reporting the conditions as ‘shocking’.
A number of drivers lost control in the wet, with McLaren’s Carlos Sainz and Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi narrowly avoiding big crashes.
Charles Leclerc was second fastest in the very wet and slippery conditions for Ferrari
Like Verstappen, Leclerc has been one of the drivers best able to cope with the conditions
TURKISH GP FINAL PRACTICE
1 Verstappen (Red Bull) 1min 48.485s
2 Leclerc (Ferrari) 1:49.430
3 Albon (Red Bull) 1:50.059
4 Ocon (Renault) 1:53.897
5 Norris (McLaren) 1:53.995
6 Vettel (Ferrari) 1:54.490
7 Perez (Racing Point) 1:55.577
8 Bottas (Mercedes) 1:55.666
9 Magnussen (Haas) 1:55.878
10 Stroll (Racing Point) 1:56.824
11 Ricciardo (Renault) 1:58.475
12 Sainz (McLaren) 1:59.548
13 Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo) 2:02.325
14 Gasly (AlphaTauri) 2:02.473
15 Grosjean (Haas) 2:04.748
16 Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo) 2:06.351
17 Kvyat (AlphaTauri) 2:09.368
18 Russell (Williams) No Time Set
19 Latifi (Williams) No Time Set
20 Hamilton (Mercedes) No Time Set
And although Hamilton has, like most drivers, struggled to generate heat in his tyres, the problems also seem to be hitting Bottas who was eighth fastest.
Bottas was over seven seconds down on Verstappen’s best effort of 1:48.485 on a weekend where he must win to have any chance of taking the title fight on to Bahrain next time out.
Although the very wet conditions, which worsened during practice, are unlikely to gauge a proper reading of outright pace, qualifying is still set to be unpredictable in Istanbul.
The newly resurfaced track and low temperatures have left drivers comparing conditions to like driving on an ‘ice rink’ and Hamilton had described the conditions as s*** with a capital S on Friday.