On Friday, the curtains open on the Turkish Grand Prix with the first session of free practices, a moment that has a bittersweet taste for the reigning champion Lewis Hamilton.
The Mercedes driver has been obliged to change once again his Internal Combustion Engine – the fourth of the 2021 season – and this implies a very heavy penalty: he will have to start the race from 10 positions behind his qualifying result on the grid. Despite this bad news, however, the Briton is shining in the circuit and he reveals to be the quickest of the session. His pace was indeed an impressive 1.24.178 which placed him ahead of his title rival Max Verstappen, who had to settle his Red Bull for a second position even with a good time of 1.24.603.
Ferrari comes back peeping in the first positions, with Charles Leclerc racing fast. The Monegasque succeeded in finishing the session in third position, with a timing of 1.24.654, an incredible result considering that the Prancing Horse reached the performance level of Red Bull.
Valtteri Bottas just ended a negative session placing himself only fourth with a result of 1.24.842 and in-between of the two Ferrari, as Carlos Sainz follows him with a fifth place and a time of 1.24.860.
Esteban Ocon drove his Alpine to a good sixth place and 1.24.909.
McLaren, instead, is showing to be less incisive that usual, as Lando Norris places only seventh with a timing of 1.25.327 and Daniel Ricciardo finished only 12th.
In eight position there is Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri who scored 1.25.382, followed up by the other Alpine driven by Fernando Alonso with 1.25.383 and a disappointing tenth place for the second Red Bull, as Sergio Perez ended the first free practice in 1.25.459 ahead of George Russell.
This comeback to Istanbul has been bittersweet but the drivers and teams are coming out in few hours for another go – and everything can be rewritten.