Overall after the first day of free practice, the drivers were very satisfied with the level of grip offered by the Istanbul track compared to last season when the drivers felt like they were riding on a real ice rink.
In 2020 just before the arrival of F1, the organizers saw fit to redo all the bitumen on the Turkish track, but the rise to the surface of the oil, mixed with the rain that made its appearance, made the track almost impractical for modern Formula 1 cars.
Before the 2021 edition, the organizers have therefore taken care of « Strip » the track with a high pressure jet, which has considerably improved the level of grip of the Istanbul track, evidenced by the positive feedback from some drivers on Friday, while a few of them did not Do not hesitate to say that the Istanbul circuit now offers the highest level of grip on the calendar.
Lewis Hamilton: “It was very different. Last year it was a new surface and the oil was coming back up, but they cleaned it up. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but there is so much more grip than before. It’s good to have so much grip, it makes it a much nicer track to ride on, much like before. «
Esteban Ocon: “It was a good Friday, probably one of the most interesting for us this year. We arrived without knowing what the conditions would be and it turns out that they have improved a lot compared to last year with excellent grip. It was perhaps even one of the highest levels of grip this season. It’s great to challenge this track and this track in these conditions. «
Fernando Alonso: “It was like discovering a new track for the very first time. I think it was the same for everyone after the grip problems on this track last year. It looks like the grip has returned to normal which is great news as it gives us confidence in the car throughout the lap. «
Nicholas Latifi: » The surface is not as I expected, especially from what I saw while walking the track, but in a positive way. Obviously the grip is a lot higher than last year, and it actually feels a lot higher than most other tracks in general. «
Lando Norris: » This Friday was decent, in quite different conditions from what we experienced in Turkey last season. It looks like a completely different trail. «
Daniel Ricciardo: » It was so different from last year and definitely more enjoyable. I will be very surprised if a pilot says otherwise! »
Valtteri Bottas: » Today was much faster than last year! Today’s FP1s were over 10 seconds faster than last year and it has actually become one of the most eye-catching tracks on the calendar, which makes it a lot of fun. «
On the side of Pirelli – which this year chose softer tires than in 2020 – we are also pleased with the level of grip on the track observed this Friday: » From the start it was clear that the track conditions were much better than last year: the drivers reported a higher level of grip and the times in both sessions were significantly faster than in 2020. ” explains Mario Isola.
» It’s hard to compare this year with last year, as the weather conditions are different and our compound nomination is a notch softer. The track was also recently washed with a high pressure process, which removed surface bitumen, although the level of roughness appears to be unchanged. «
» As a result, we saw consistent grip throughout the lap, although slightly affected by today’s gusts of wind, and all three compounds provided solid performance, with some graining, as expected, in particular. on the front right. «
» With so many new features compared to last year, teams will rely heavily on the information gathered today to propose the optimal strategy rather than on 2020 data. However, there is a risk of rain tomorrow which could be a problem. other variable. «
“For racing, what we learned today is that hard and medium tires could be preferred if a one stop strategy is chosen, but soft rubber could also come into play if teams are able. to limit their wear. «
EL2 standings in Istanbul