Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Istanbul Park, 2020

“I’d be surprised if Max isn’t leading by the end of lap one”

2020 Turkish Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen’s Red Bull and the two Mercedes are likely to be the cars to beat in the Turkish Grand Prix despite yesterday’s eventful qualifying session, Renault’s sporting director Alan Permane believes.

Lance Stroll scored a shock pole position for Racing Point yesterday. He will share the front row of the grid with Verstappen, who led practice as well as Q1 and Q2 in yesterday’s wet qualifying session.

Mercedes suffered one of their worst qualifying performance of recent years. Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas will start sixth and ninth – the first time neither Mercedes has qualified inside the top five since the 2013 Italian Grand Prix.

Although conditions remain uncertain ahead of the start of today’s race in less than two hours’ time, Permane expects the Mercedes drivers and Verstappen will be the key contenders today.

“I’d be amazed if the Mercedes weren’t quick and didn’t come through,” he said. “I’d be amazed if Max isn’t in the lead by the end of the first lap, honestly, the way he the way he tends to drive those first laps. I still think the normal three cars will be challenging.”

Daniel Ricciardo, Renault, Istanbul Park, 2020
Ricciardo will line up fifth for Renault
Daniel Ricciardo out-qualified the two Mercedes and will start fifth for Renault, two places ahead of team mate Esteban Ocon. “I think between us and Racing Point it’s very much game on,” said Permane.

Friday’s dry running showed teams may face problems with their tyres even if it doesn’t rain again, said Permane.

“We saw in the dry huge discrepancies in lap time,” he said. “We saw one of the Ferraris, I think it was Charles [Leclerc], with a lot of graining on his front tyre. So he was clearly making that tyre work really well and maybe a bit too much.

“I think you if you can get it working but not kill it, then I think it’s still anybody’s race.”

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2020 Turkish Grand Prix

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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20 comments on ““I’d be surprised if Max isn’t leading by the end of lap one””

  1. The sport’s appalling.
    A young bloke that’s been criticized has a chance to win a race and the reaction is « I’d be surprise Max (or: usual suspects) won’t lead at the end of Lap 1 » Killjoy!

    Everyone wants F1 being a bit less predictable and when the case comes everyone predicts the predictable will win !

    1. Well, I don’t know what’s more logical than predicting the predictable. Will the prediction prove to be the right one, that’s another matter.

    2. A little dramatic, no? He’s just been asked an opinion in a press conference, and given his view….

      if team members and drivers don’t say what they think, we complain they’re being boring. If every single thing they say is pulled apart with hyperbole, then it’s hardly suprising….

    3. Hehe, Alan Permane couldn’t have been more wrong about the start!

  2. I would be surprised if Max doesn’t lose a place to Perez at the start

    1. Exactly, I count him to be fighting Ricciardo for 3rd going into the first corner

    2. It pretty much depends on their starts. But i agree with you that if Stroll does a decent start and Perez has one, starting from the other side of the grid from the racing line will be a risk for Verstappen just like it proved to be in Mugello and Portimao @kingshark.

      I do think Verstappen has a good chance, but it could well be a few laps, or even the pitstops, where Verstappen will have to do it. Going off line to pass also won’t be easy.

  3. I would be, Verstappen is generally one of the worst starters on the grid (maybe it’s down to the car, Albon doesn’t seem to make big progressions either, and they struggled even in Webber’s days), plus Perez said that he’s happier to start 3rd than 2nd (although with the rain on the fresh asphalt I don’t know how much difference the sides make), so I wouldn’t bet on him going clear right at the start.

    1. “I would be, Verstappen is generally one of the worst starters on the grid”
      Yes, that’s why he is currently third ranked (equal with Leclerc) on positions gained during the first lap.
      1 Gio 16
      2 Mag 7
      3 Charles 6
      4 Max 6
      Last 4
      Bottas -6
      Grosjean -6
      Russel -6
      Norris -7

      But hey, don’t let facts stand in the way…….

      1. True he also qualifies back too far quite often and then picks up some easy overtakes. Still Verstappen’s starts aren’t great. Bottas’ starts from P2 have been worse on occasion perhaps, but this time Verstappen was starting from P2 and he botched it even more

  4. I’d be surprised if Stroll and Max don’t come together within 5 laps of the start.

    1. Stroll has a habit of looking for the scene of an accident, whenever he races. If Max is feisty off the start, there is a real risk of something happening in first couple of laps. Perez might be one to watch.

  5. The only prediction I dare make today is, Mercedes will struggle.

    Racing point could win on a damp track if Verstappen crashes. Vettel might be better than Leclerc, he spun in last race right?

    If there is rain, I call Verstapen victory.

    1. I was thinking about this, and why it is Redbull can get their tyres up to tempurature faster than Mercedes.
      It could be down to the actual wheel design.

      I wonder if Redbull have an alterntive wheel design for these conditions which takes the heat from the breaks and feeds it into the wheel rim.

      Im sure something like this will be on Mercedes list of furture improvements. They’ll at least be asking the question, how are Redbull managing this?

    2. @jureo Hope you didn’t put money on this

  6. Max is most likely to win but I wouldn’t take the short odds on offer from the bookmakers.

    Anyone’s race if it stays wet.

    1. I hope you didn’t put money on that bet ;)

  7. This dint age well.
    Oh Max.

  8. “I’d be surprised if Max isn’t leading by the end of lap one”
    And they are supposed to be experts in formula 1 …
    They should write about how to plant potatoes in less fertile land.

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