Turkish GP - Friday - Practice Session 1 Report
McLarens Top First Practice in Istanbul
McLaren topped the times in the first free practice session for Sunday's Turkish Grand Prix, with Lewis Hamilton lapping in 1:28.653 and Jenson Button in 1:29.615.
Hamilton enjoys Istanbul, the challenge of the triple apex Turn 8 in particular, and is looking to take up where he left off in Barcelona, as Red Bull's closest competitor. He hardly needs reminding that last year, before McLaren solved its aerodynamic issues with the MP4-24, he had to suffer the frustration of being close to 15kph slower through that turn than a Force India with the same Mercedes engine...
The Mercedes of Michael Schumacher (1:29.750) and Nico Rosberg (1:29.855) were next quickest, marginally faster than joint championship leader Sebastian Vettel (1:29.867). Vettel has a new Red Bull chassis in Turkey ‚Äö√Ñ√¨ named 'Randy Mandy' after a defect was detected with his last one, the car used in Spain and Monaco, where he was comprehensively outpaced by team mate Mark Webber.
In Turkey, Webber was asked to estimate how much of a deficit Vettel may have had. "I wasn't driving his car, so it's difficult to know," he dead-panned, "we'll see..." Red Bull is trying a drag-reducing so-called F-duct for the first time in Turkey and will make an assessment at the end of the day as to whether to continue with it for qualifying and race.
Splitting the Red Bulls in the first session were the Renaults of Robert Kubica (1:30.061) and Vitaly Petrov (1:30.065), with Fernando Alonso's Ferrari (1:30.294) and Adrian Sutil's Force India (1:30.501) completing the top 10.