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Rain brings added chaos to "terrifying" Istanbul Park track in final practice

Rain brings added chaos to "terrifying" Istanbul Park track in final practice

F1 News

Rain brings added chaos to "terrifying" Istanbul Park track in final practice

Rain brings added chaos to "terrifying" Istanbul Park track in final practice

Rain brought added chaos to Formula 1's return to Turkey as drivers were forced to contend with an even more treacherous Istanbul Park track.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen completed a clean sweep of the practice sessions with a leading time of one minute 48.485secs on intermediate tyres, but the final hour-long session was dominated by the weather, leading to virtually no running for the final 28 minutes.

Following the vehement complaints of nearly all the drivers after Friday's two practice sessions, their worst fears were realised for FP3.

Light rain had dusted the track overnight, and again 45 minutes before the start of the session, resulting in a circuit - described by Lewis Hamilton as "terrifying" given its ice-like conditions - becoming even more ludicrously slippery.

For the opening 10 minutes, the majority of the drivers ventured out on intermediates, but the continued lack of grip and a lack of heat in the tyres, in tandem with track and air temperatures of just 13 and 12 degrees respectively, led to numerous spinners.

McLaren's Carlos Sainz, Sergio Perez in his Racing Point, AlphaTauri's Daniil Kvyat and Renault's Esteban Ocon were among those that all spun.

The rain then grew in intensity, requiring the installation of Pirelli's full-wet rubber, but even those tyres were unable to provide the level of traction required for a driver to confidently push.

Hamilton's three laps across the session were conducted on full wets, and as the last man out on track and with no time to his name, the Briton finished the outing at the bottom of the timesheet behind Williams pairing George Russell and Nicholas Latifi, who also both failed to post a time.

During a 20-minute period when the full wets were required, McLaren's Carlos Sainz came closest to a crash, with the Spaniard doing enough to catch his car as it took to the grass to avoid hitting an awaiting barrier.

Half an hour into the session the rain grew heavier, and from that point on the majority of the teams decided it was not worth venturing out again.

AlphaTauri pair Pierre Gasly and Kvyat, along with Alfa Romeo duo Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi did brave the conditions, with the latter sliding off and just avoiding a heavy collision into a barrier.

Hamilton and Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas also took to the track for a couple of exploratory laps, only for the Briton to return after bemoaning the conditions as "shocking".

In terms of what were largely irrelevant times, Ferrari's Charles Leclerc, who was one of the few drivers who enjoyed the conditions on Friday, describing them as "fun", was second quickest, almost a second down on Verstappen.

The Dutch driver's team-mate Alex Albon was third on the timesheet, 1.574s down, followed by Ocon, Norris and Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, with Perez and Bottas seventh and eighth, albeit with both seven seconds down.

Before you go...

F1 will race on if rain strikes treacherous Turkey track– Albon

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