Lewis Hamilton Tops FP1 at Turkish GP as His F1 Engine Penalty Looms Large

Published 10/08/2021, 5:31 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Turkish Grand Prix – Intercity Istanbul Park, Istanbul, Turkey – October 8, 2021 Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas in action during practice REUTERS/Murad Sezer


Lewis Hamilton gained an early advantage in his ongoing battle against Max Verstappen by leading the way over FP1 at Istanbul Park. The latter, though looking a bit off, managed to perform well enough to evade the threat from the other Mercedes F1 driver, Valtteri Bottas.

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Sergio Perez, as always, is still hunting for a way to bring his Red Bull up to speed by just finishing the session in the top 10. Meanwhile, Alpine drivers, Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso, and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc looked on top form, as the trio consistently churned out strong lap times, enough to fight at the top of the field.

Formula One F1 – Turkish Grand Prix – Intercity Istanbul Park, Istanbul, Turkey – October 8, 2021 Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr. in action during practice REUTERS/Murad Sezer

But, of course, FP1 is hardly a session to consider as most of the drivers are still finding their limits on the track.

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How the F1 session unfolded

Istanbul welcomed F1 drivers to a rather overcast morning, as Hamilton put his Mercedes on a provisional P1 with a 1:27:439 on a set of soft tires. The rather quick lap times suggested that the drivers are finding much better grip compared to last year’s Turkish Grand Prix where it was absolutely tricky.

And indeed, with a lack of running over the past year, the track was constantly evolving as F1 moved deeper into the practice session. What’s more, this track will continue to evolve throughout the weekend, meaning, qualifying session can be quite the chaos, with drivers looking to set their lap times as late as possible.

Formula One F1 – Turkish Grand Prix – Intercity Istanbul Park, Istanbul, Turkey – October 8, 2021 Red Bull’s Sergio Perez in action during practice REUTERS/Murad Sezer

Hamilton set his personal best lap time of 1:24:178, which ended up being over 0.6 quicker than his teammate, Bottas. Interestingly, Verstappen, too, was almost 0.4s slower than the 7-time world champion.

Leclerc posted his lap time, which almost matched Verstappen, but losing it only by 0.051s. Hence, the Monegasque pipped Bottas to claim P3.

How the top 10 looked like

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Hamilton claimed P1 ahead of his title rival, Verstappen, with the in-form Leclerc closing out the top 3. Bottas secured P4 ahead of the other Ferrari driver, Sainz in P5. Ocon secured P6 for Alpine, with Norris clinching a rather satisfying P7 for McLaren.

Formula One F1 – Turkish Grand Prix – Intercity Istanbul Park, Istanbul, Turkey – October 8, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in action during practice REUTERS/Murad Sezer

Gasly continued to outshine his teammate by grabbing onto P8, ahead of 2-time world champion, Alonso. And, finally, a struggling Perez closed out the top 10, with Russell not far off in P11.

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Overall, a very quiet FP1 session comes to an end, as all of the drivers managed to avoid any kind of moments on the track, albeit the occasional track limits violation. But, with winds set to pick up heading into the afternoon, the drivers could be looking forward to a much trickier FP2 in Istanbul.

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Rohit Kumar

1269 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.

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