Lewis Hamilton has clearly dominated this season so far. The Briton is set to clinch his record-equaling seventh world championship this weekend in Turkey. However, the Silver Arrows were significantly off their pace throughout the practice sessions on Friday.
Mercedes are known for not showing their true pace during the practice sessions. However, they looked way off their true self this Friday, ahead of the Turkish Grand Prix. In Free Practice 1, Valtteri Bottas ended up P9 and Lewis Hamilton could only manage a P15.
Lewis Hamilton revealed that the track was very slippery and difficult to drive on. He admitted, “It was a bit of a disaster today to be honest.” He claimed that the track was worse than Portimao with its new surface.
“Sh*t – and sh*t with a capital S!” said the six-time World Champion.
“The tyres aren’t working, and you see it, it’s like an ice rink out there, so you don’t get quite the enjoyment of the lap that you would normally get out of Istanbul. And I don’t see that changing,” he added.
After Free practice 2, Bottas could only take P3 with around half a second difference with Max Verstappen at P1. Meanwhile, the number one contender for the world championship finished P4. Max Verstappen drove his Red Bull to P1 during both the practice sessions.
Hamilton admitted that the circuit was terrifying from the cockpit. He stated, “it’s almost like there’s wet patches all over, so you’re on your slicks and accelerating and then [mimes the car snapping] it goes so fast, and that’s because you’re way, way below the temperature window of these tyres.”
Hamilton explained that he is not changing anything on the car for Qualifying. He stated that the team was unable to find any balancing problems due to the tire issue. However, he pointed out that some drivers are finding the grip and earning an extra second as a result.
He said, “Obviously the Red Bulls are doing really well with it and we’ve definitely got some work to do to figure out what we can change.” Although, Hamilton pointed out that they just have to do the best they can this weekend.
A win at the Turkish Grand Prix will secure the Briton’s seventh world championship. He will be looking forward to qualifying in the front row and building on that advantage to grab the 2020 word title.