Red Bull’s Max Verstappen believes drivers are still five seconds off the pace at Formula 1’s Turkish Grand Prix following a duo of Friday practice sessions in low-grip conditions.
Verstappen’s session-topping time at the end of FP2 saw him go four-tenths faster than Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, while Mercedes trailed by over half a second.
Although conditions improved from FP1, drivers were still struggling for grip in the afternoon on the newly-resurfaced Istanbul track, leading to the sensation of driving on ice, according to Verstappen.
“We’re still miles off, it’s like driving on ice,” he said. “Worse than Portimao by far. At the end of the day it’s the same for everyone so we just have to adapt to it.
“I hope it’s not going to rain as it will be like proper driving on ice so maybe we will have to switch to spikes or something on the tyres, that would be quite interesting so let’s see.
“I think we will talk about [in the briefing] why the tarmac is so slippery. I think we’re still like five seconds off of what we should do. Like I said, same for everyone and we will deal with it.”
Despite the Soft compound requiring a lower temperature to get into a suitable operating window, Verstappen doesn’t think the red-walled tyre will be a simple fix for the problem on Saturday.
“No, not really,” Verstappen, when asked if the Soft tyre would help the situation.
“We did go a bit faster from hard to Soft but it’s just the grip on the tarmac. For sure, you can stick even softer tyres on but then they will grain to death so that’s not the solution.
“I hope it’s going to evolve, of course. For sure Mercedes tomorrow will get it together but for us today was very positive.
“It means I think the prep we did to get here was not too bad but of course, reacting to the conditions, we did well today in FP1.
“I just hope we can have a competitive qualifying and the race, you never know what happens.”