Max Verstappen has joked the teams may have to “switch to spikes on the tyres” for Sunday’s Turkish Grand Prix after feeling like he was “driving on ice” on the opening day of practice at the newly resurfaced Istanbul Park track.
Red Bull driver Verstappen finished fastest in both practice sessions but his time in the first session was 10 seconds slower than those set last time F1 hit the track back in 2011, and still three seconds off the pace by the end of FP2.
Similar issues occurred when F1 visited the Portimão track in Portugal earlier this year, and although things improved through the weekend, the difficulty with grip levels created challenges in qualifying and the race.
“It’s very low grip," said Verstappen. "I hope it’s not going to rain because then it will be like driving on ice, so maybe we have to switch to spikes on the tyres. That would be interesting!
“It can’t get any worse than at the start of FP1 but we are still miles off. It’s worse than Portimão, by far, but it’s the same for everyone and we just have to adapt to it. We will talk about it [in the driver’s briefing] why the Tarmac is so slippery.”
Verstappen finished four-tenths of a second ahead of Ferrari's Charles Leclerc in the second session, with the Mercedes pair of Valterri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton third and fourth quickest
Despite his Red Bull team’s early pace, the Dutch driver expects the usual suspects to offer more of a challenge as the track hopefully improves in practice and qualifying on Saturday.
“I hope it’s going to evolve," added Verstappen. "For sure Mercedes will get it together tomorrow. But for us, it was very positive.
"I just hope we can have a competitive qualifying and then the race, you never know what happens.”
Before you go...
"Ice rink" Istanbul Park "terrifying" - Hamilton
Pirelli admit to Istanbul tyre selection error