Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren, Istanbul Park, 2021

Drivers surprised by “insane” grip increase at Istanbul

2021 Turkish Grand Prix

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Formula 1 drivers expected to discover more grip on their return to Istanbul Park but were surprised just how much the track surface has improved in less than a year.

Lewis Hamilton broke the track record during the first practice session with a lap of 1’24.178. That compared to a best of 1’35.077 by Max Verstappen in the same session during last year’s Turkish Grand Prix weekend.

“It was a lot faster,” said Hamilton’s team mate Valtteri Bottas. “I think it was over 10 seconds, in practice one, faster than last year.”

Many drivers complained about the poor state of the track during last year’s race, after a recent resurfacing left it slick with oils, a problem which was worsened by rain.

“Now it’s proper grip and actually I think, one of the grippiest tracks we have on the calendar,” said Bottas. “So obviously it makes the track more fun.”

The improved surface makes the track far more enjoyable to drive, said Daniel Ricciardo. “From a driving point I actually had a lot of fun today,” said the McLaren driver. “The track was cool, completely different to last year. The grip was an insane amount better and made the experience really enjoyable.”

“We were prepared to have grip like this but I would say it’s still a bit of a surprise to have that much,” he added. “A little bit of a surprise.”

Sergio Perez also found the track was in much better shape than he expected after last year. “It did surprise us, the amount of grip,” he said. “It’s obviously more like a standard track out there.”

However the increase in grip is not the same across the track, said the Red Bull driver. “It’s still very challenging because it’s not consistent, the grip. Sometimes on the entry to the corner you have less grip than on the exit so it’s pretty difficult as a driver to adjust in that regard.”

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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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5 comments on “Drivers surprised by “insane” grip increase at Istanbul”

  1. Pit strategies will be interesting, given the softest compounds are in use and Pirelli didn’t know about the track treatment when selecting them.

  2. and actually I think, one of the grippiest tracks we have on the calendar,” said Bottas

    What an incredible change from the least grippiest

  3. A shame that the camera crew is still on the untreated tarmac

    1. Did you see some tarmac in the shots? All I saw were close-ups of the car.

  4. This track deserves to be on the calendar!

Comments are closed.