If you’re like us, you were super excited to see cars return to the Istanbul track. Having these cars go flat-out around Turn 8 was to be an amazing sight. However, the reality was very different as we had one of the slowest sessions of the year due to track conditions being super slippery.

This session, which saw a quickest time of 1:35.077 set by Max Verstappen, had the field separated by just under 15 seconds thanks to the impossible track conditions.

The unusual practice session had drivers complaining that it was like “driving in the wet”, “worse than ice” and similar to “driving on grass”.

Renault’s Ricciardo even said the surface was worse than that of Portimao, a circuit F1 visited several weeks ago that had been newly resurfaced and caused many drifting issues during the weekend.

So, why is the track so bad to race on?

Well, it’s a mix of things. Firstly, the resin from the fresh track layout is still coming up onto the surface. The cars need to get rubber down from their tyres and kick dust up to help get some grip going.

There is also the issue that the track keeps being washed overnight. This is also adding to the problem, with it not drying quickly enough and shadows from grandstands meaning that patches of the track are still wet.

Some drivers enjoyed the conditions, with Latifi coming on radio after the session to say it was like “drift city” out there.

Sebastian Vettel during FP1 © XPB Images
Sebastian Vettel during FP1 © XPB Images

However, in terms of getting data for the drivers and teams, the practice session has probably caused some distress with the lack of information they have been able to gather on a track we haven’t raced at since 2011.

To illustrate just how low-grip the track is, half way into the session the fastest time set was 18 seconds off Vettel’s pole position time from 2011. Madness.

Overall, the top time in today’s session was three seconds quicker than FP1 at Istanbul in 2011. Doesn’t sound too bad, until you realise that session was fully wet. Really puts into perspective how slow these cars had to go in this session today. Jeepers.

To add to the insanity, Ferrari were even running 1-2 at one point.

What did you think of that session?

 

 

 

Valtteri Bottas testing out the track in FP1 at Istanbul © XPB Images