Turkish GP: Verstappen leads Leclerc in second practice

Alex Kalinauckas
·5-min read

The Mercedes drivers had a low-key session, finishing in third and fourth, with Valtteri Bottas ahead of Lewis Hamilton.

In a reverse of Friday morning's FP1 session, track temperatures at Istanbul Park decreased as the 90-minute FP2 session progressed, from 20.3-degrees to 18.5, which kept the times slow even as the drivers started to complete qualifying simulations on the softer tyres for the first time.

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Verstappen's best time – a 1m28.330s – is still 3.281s slower than the 2011 Turkish GP pole lap, and 3.56s slower than the Istanbul track record – a 1m24.770s set by Juan Pablo Montoya for McLaren in the first F1 race at this venue in 2005.

After the vast majority of the FP1 running had been completed on the harder tyres, most of the drivers emerged for the afternoon session immediately on the mediums.

Bottas set the initial benchmark at 1m38.443s, but his next time by he lowered it by over three seconds, and he brought it down again to 1m34.940s after Kimi Raikkonen had briefly popped up to P1 for Alfa Romeo as he chased McLaren's Carlos Sainz through the final turns.

The best P1 time continued to be lowered by Bottas before Verstappen, also running the mediums, moved ahead with a 1m32.836s and then Alex Albon took the top spot in the other Red Bull on a 1m31.916s, which he then improved to 1m30.872s at the 20-minute mark.

By this stage, the first drivers started to appear on softs, but it took until 20 minutes later before the lead changed at the head of the times.

Here, Charles Leclerc went quickest on a 1m30.751s, but only after he had completed several slower tours as the drivers encountered an early graining phase on the C3 Pirelli rubber.

This graining, added to the significant track evolution factor on the freshly laid asphalt, meant the drivers took several laps before being able to set their best times of the session, with Leclerc eventually being joined at the head of the times by his teammate Sebastian Vettel.

But it was Albon who initially set the pace on the softs with a 1m29.627s – after he had had a time nearly a second slower, but then a personal best, deleted for running deep at Turn 1.

Approaching 50 minutes in FP2, Albon took the fastest time to a 1m29.363s, at which point the Mercedes drivers were taking their first exploratory laps on the softs.

Verstappen began reeling in Albon's advantage in the standings while Bottas and Hamilton got up to speed on the red-walled rubber, closing the gap to 0.007s just after Albon had put in his best time of the session.

But the Dutchman found more time on a subsequent run to go to P1 with a 1m28.984s, before he was deposed by Leclerc, who had continued to circulate on his first set of softs, and put in a 1m28.731s

Verstappen also stayed out for a lengthy run of efforts, eventually taking the top spot for good with his 1m28.330s.

The Mercedes drivers did find time as they put in laps on their softs – with Hamilton at one stage coming in to the pits – rising to third and fourth, with Bottas jumping ahead of his teammate just as their time on the softs came to an end as the session entered its final 30 minutes.

After this the drivers switched to long run data gathering, with the longer runs featuring several spins.

Williams pair George Russell and Nicholas Latifi went around at practically the same time – although at Turn 1 and Turn 7, the long, right-hand, uphill hairpin respectively – will Raikkonen spun off at the downhill exit of Turn 4 and Daniil Kvyat looped around at the final corner.

Albon was shuffled down to fifth in the final standings, finishing ahead of AlphaTauri pair Kvyat and Pierre Gasly, with Vettel and Lance Stroll taking eighth and ninth.

Lando Norris, who completed a long run on the hard tyres in the opening phase of the session, rounded out the top 10.

1

Netherlands
Netherlands

Max Verstappen

Red Bull Racing-Honda RB16
Red Bull Racing-Honda RB16

Red Bull

37

1'28.330

2

Monaco
Monaco

Charles Leclerc

Ferrari SF1000
Ferrari SF1000

Ferrari

45

1'28.731

0.401

0.401

3

Finland
Finland

Valtteri Bottas

Mercedes F1 W11 EQ Power+
Mercedes F1 W11 EQ Power+

Mercedes

43

1'28.905

0.575

0.174

4

United Kingdom
United Kingdom

Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes F1 W11 EQ Power+
Mercedes F1 W11 EQ Power+

Mercedes

39

1'29.180

0.850

0.275

5

Thailand
Thailand

Alex Albon

Red Bull Racing-Honda RB16
Red Bull Racing-Honda RB16

Red Bull

42

1'29.363

1.033

0.183

6

Russian Federation
Russian Federation

Daniil Kvyat

AlphaTauri-Honda AT01
AlphaTauri-Honda AT01

AlphaTauri

43

1'29.689

1.359

0.326

7

France
France

Pierre Gasly

AlphaTauri-Honda AT01
AlphaTauri-Honda AT01

AlphaTauri

43

1'29.944

1.614

0.255

8

Germany
Germany

Sebastian Vettel

Ferrari SF1000
Ferrari SF1000

Ferrari

41

1'30.022

1.692

0.078

9

Canada
Canada

Lance Stroll

Racing Point-BWT Mercedes RP20
Racing Point-BWT Mercedes RP20

Racing Point

38

1'30.297

1.967

0.275

10

United Kingdom
United Kingdom

Lando Norris

McLaren-Renault MCL35
McLaren-Renault MCL35

McLaren

39

1'30.907

2.577

0.610

11

Mexico
Mexico

Sergio Perez

Racing Point-BWT Mercedes RP20
Racing Point-BWT Mercedes RP20

Racing Point

38

1'31.104

2.774

0.197

12

France
France

Esteban Ocon

Renault R.S.20
Renault R.S.20

Renault

36

1'31.380

3.050

0.276

13

Italy
Italy

Antonio Giovinazzi

Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari C39
Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari C39

Alfa Romeo

39

1'31.493

3.163

0.113

14

Spain
Spain

Carlos Sainz Jr.

McLaren-Renault MCL35
McLaren-Renault MCL35

McLaren

40

1'31.498

3.168

0.005

15

Australia
Australia

Daniel Ricciardo

Renault R.S.20
Renault R.S.20

Renault

35

1'31.660

3.330

0.162

16

Finland
Finland

Kimi Raikkonen

Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari C39
Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari C39

Alfa Romeo

43

1'31.932

3.602

0.272

17

United Kingdom
United Kingdom

George Russell

Williams-Mercedes FW43
Williams-Mercedes FW43

Williams

39

1'32.302

3.972

0.370

18

France
France

Romain Grosjean

Haas-Ferrari VF-20
Haas-Ferrari VF-20

Haas

33

1'32.570

4.240

0.268

19

Denmark
Denmark

Kevin Magnussen

Haas-Ferrari VF-20
Haas-Ferrari VF-20

Haas

37

1'32.807

4.477

0.237

20

Canada
Canada

Nicholas Latifi

Williams-Mercedes FW43
Williams-Mercedes FW43

Williams

40

1'33.488

5.158

0.681

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