Lewis Hamilton dominates practice in Turkey after suffering grid penalty
Lewis Hamilton completed a dominant practice double in Turkey as he bids to overcome a 10-place grid penalty.
The seven-time world champion ended the opening session on top – four tenths faster than Max Verstappen – before also setting the quickest time in the afternoon running.
The Mercedes driver finished 0.166 seconds clear of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, with Valtteri Bottas third in the other Mercedes.
Verstappen was fifth in the day’s concluding session, 0.635sec adrift of his championship rival.
Hamilton heads into Sunday’s race with a two-point advantage over Verstappen in his quest for a record-breaking eighth world crown.
But the British driver is set to have his work cut out to retain his title lead after he was dealt a grid penalty for taking on his fourth engine of the year – one more than is permitted.
However, Hamilton will avoid starting last as he is changing only the ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) and not a full power unit.
Mercedes rate the 3.31-mile circuit here, 30 miles outside of Istanbul, among the easier tracks on the calendar to overtake – and Hamilton will hope to come through the field like Verstappen did at the last race in Russia.
The Dutchman was thrown to the back for using his fourth engine of the campaign but finished second in the rain-hit race to limit the championship damage.
The early signs were certainly encouraging for Hamilton at a venue where he captured his seventh title last year.
Verstappen’s Red Bull team showed off their special livery in tribute to engine partner Honda.
The predominantly white colours with a flick of red are a nod to the livery used when Richie Ginther secured Honda’s first Formula One win at the 1965 Mexican Grand Prix.
But Verstappen failed to trouble the top of the time charts in either session, ending the day a place behind team-mate Sergio Perez.
Lando Norris, the British driver who came within two laps of claiming his maiden win in Russia a fortnight ago, finished sixth, 0.721sec back with Alpine’s Fernando Alonso seventh.
Practice played out under clear blue skies but the forecast for the remainder of the weekend is unsettled.
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