Red Bull’s Max Verstappen completed a clean sweep of practice sessions as he topped a rain-hit final hour of running at Formula 1’s Turkish Grand Prix.
The recently resurfaced Istanbul Park lacked grip in dry conditions on Friday to the extent that drivers were at least five seconds off the predicted times.
The situation was accentuated by cold conditions, Pirelli’s decision to bring its hardest compounds and the absence of any support categories to help the track rubber in.
The area was struck by rain overnight and drizzle that began to fall in the early stages of Saturday’s session intensified as the hour wore on.
Intermediates were used early on the session and it was on the green-banded tyres that Verstappen set the best time of 1:48.485 – some 20 seconds shy of his Friday best.
As on Friday it was Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc who finished second but he was nine-tenths adrift of Verstappen.
Drivers tried to make the most of the situation early on, before rain intensified, but even then the circuit was perilously slippery.
Several drivers had hapless-looking spins exiting Turn 7, including Lando Norris, Sergio Perez and Daniil Kvyat, while Sebastian Vettel slid sideways through Turn 2.
Leclerc stumbled into the rear of Esteban Ocon at Turn 12, sending the Renault driver into a spin, and then had a half-spin exiting Turn 1.
Antonio Giovinazzi came closest to an accident as he grazed the wall with his front wing endplate after losing control of his Alfa Romeo C39 on the high speed approach to Turn 3.
With no more track running until qualifying, and ambient weather cold and damp, it is unlikely that conditions will improve prior to Q1.
Only a handful of drivers completed a double-digit number of laps due to the difficulty of the track conditions.
World Champion Lewis Hamilton amassed only three laps, opting not to set a time, with Williams’ drivers also having just one exploratory lap.
Over 20 seconds separated those who did record a timed lap with the slowest classified runner, AlphaTauri’s Kvyat, comparing the session to driving in ice.
Qualifying for the Turkish Grand Prix is scheduled for 15:00 local time.
|1||M. VERSTAPPEN||Red Bull||1:48.485||6|
|3||A. ALBON||Red Bull||1:50.059||+1.574||5|
|7||S. PEREZ||Racing Point||1:55.577||+7.092||6|
|10||L. STROLL||Racing Point||1:56.824||+8.339||5|
|13||A. GIOVINAZZI||Alfa Romeo||2:02.325||+13.840||10|
|16||K. RAIKKONEN||Alfa Romeo||2:06.351||+17.866||13|