However, Hamilton will not start the race from pole, because Mercedes has installed a new internal combustion engine in the world champion and has to move back ten places on the starting grid. “There is a lot of work ahead of me on Sunday, so we have to make sure that we get the best out of the car. Our long run has been very constant,” says Hamilton. Nevertheless, he doesn’t want to concentrate solely on the race set-up. “I have to go to pole tomorrow to minimize the damage,” explains the Briton. After all, he is happy with the balance of his W12: “The car is almost the way I want it to be.”
It looks completely different on Friday with World Cup opponent Verstappen. The Dutchman complained of extreme understeer in training several times, then reported: “Today was not the best day. Now we have a long evening ahead of us and we have to see what we can do overnight. I hope we improve, otherwise it won’t look that way good.” The relocation for Hamilton is not of interest to Verstappen at first. “We focus on ourselves,” he comments.
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner is looking at the competition: “We expected Mercedes to be very strong on this track. Now we have to try to benefit from the penalty.” Horner does not believe that the Silver Arrows for the motor penalty, like Verstappen last time in Sochi, voluntarily chose Istanbul Park: “As far as we know, the change is more necessary than chosen. Lewis only swapped the combustion engine. This means that his penalty is smaller , but the load on the other components is higher. “
Regarding Verstappen’s problems, Horner says: “We had a bit of a mess with the balance today. The course has a lot more grip than last year. With Max we didn’t manage to get into the right window with the setup today. But we know that we have a good car. ” According to Horner, team-mate Perez is also an important indicator: “Checo had a good day, that helps us as a team too.”
Although the official extrapolations of Formula 1 see Verstappen half a second behind Hamilton on the long runs and even a full second over a fast qualifying lap, ex-F1 driver and Sky expert Anthony Davidson warns against writing off Red Bull. “We don’t know the amount of fuel. Red Bull also knows that Mercedes will get the penalty. They must have focused more on the race set-up today, so Max’s times don’t have to reflect their real pace,” said Davidson.
Ferrari can also tip the scales in the race. The Scuderia shows strong pace on Friday. After finishing third in the first session, Charles Leclerc is one and a half tenths off Hamilton in the second training session. The Mercedes star warns with a view to his targeted race to catch up on Sunday: “It should be tough to overtake them.” After all, the world championship leader only has to drive on Leclerc’s red racer: his team-mate Carlos Sainz, like Hamilton, also changes the engine, but all components have to be the last to leave.
Together with the Spaniard, Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll’s Aston Martin could also be at the bottom of the grid on Sunday. The British team is also considering changing the engine on Friday, but official confirmation is still pending. Vettel only finished the second training session in 16th position. Compatriot Mick Schumacher finished 19th and penultimate in the Haas – once again only team-mate Nikita Mazepin is slower.
Result – Turkey GP 2021, 2nd Free Practice:
2. Charles Leclerc (Monaco) – Ferrari +0.166 sec.
3. Valtteri Bottas (Finland) – Mercedes +0.410
4. Sergio Perez (Mexico) – Red Bull +0.569
5. Max Verstappen (Netherlands) – Red Bull +0.635
6. Lando Norris (Great Britain) – McLaren +0.721
7. Fernando Alonso (Spain) – Alpine +0.856
8. Esteban Ocon (France) – Alpine +0.868
9. Pierre Gasly (France) – Alpha Tauri +0.952
10. Antonio Giovinazzi (Italy) – Alfa Romeo +0.992
11. Yuki Tsunoda (Japan) – Alpha Tauri +1.078
12. Carlos Sainz Jr. (Spain) – Ferrari +1.099
13. Lance Stroll (Canada) – Aston Martin +1.216
14. Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) – McLaren +1.256
15. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) – Alfa Romeo +1,339
16. Sebastian Vettel (Heppenheim) – Aston Martin +1.425
17. Nicholas Latifi (Canada) – Williams +1.503
18. George Russell (Great Britain) – Williams +1,554
19. Mick Schumacher (Gland / Switzerland) – Haas +1.676
20. Nikita Masepin (Russia) – Haas +1.894