A bit of a turn up for the books in the opening free practice session for the Turkish Grand Prix, with Lewis Hamilton heading a McLaren 1-2, with a fastest time over a second clear of the nearest non-McLaren driver, Mercedes GP’s Michael Schumacher.
Nico Rosberg’s fourth place in the standings meant Mercedes engine power locked out the top-four positions on the timesheets, and actually took six of the top-twelve position all up, with Adrian Sutil 10th and Vitantonio Liuzzi 12th-quickest in the sister Force India.
However, Sutil was to blot his copybook with a heavy shunt at the fearsom Turn 8 in the final three minutes of the first 90-minute session of the weekend.
A warm, sunny morning greeted all 24 drivers, with ambient temperatures in the mid- to high-20s, and track temperatures soaring to the low 40-degree range.
Teams were certainly keen to clock up some mileage on the host of technical updates they brought to the circuit this weekend, and the two Lotus drivers were out on the track early to assess the revised rear wing brought to Turkey. Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli wound up quickest of the three rookie teams’ drivers at the end of the session.
The Red Bull and Force India teams were also debuting their maiden iterations of the ‘F-duct’ concept, although only Mark Webber’s RB6 was fitted with the device out of the two Red Bull drivers. That the ‘F-duct’-less Sebastian Vettel – who, incidentally, celebrates his 50th Grand Prix this weekend – lapped 0.2s quicker at the end of the session could be telling…
HRT elected to allow Sakon Yamamoto to have his first outing in the F110 as the team’s second Friday test driver, and unsurprisingly lapped slowest of the 24 runners, not helped in the least by a loose gurney flap on his rear wing.
Fellow HRT runner Karun Chandhok should be well pleased with his FP1 efforts, posting a fastest lap time that was quicker than both Virgin Racing cars – this despite losing previous track time when he had to pit mid-session with a suspected electrical glitch.
It was a generally quiet session with a few drivers running wide and bring more dust on the circuit, but Adrian Sutil’s heavy shunt livened things up when he lost control in the daunting Turn 8 and nosed into the tyre barriers, ripping off both front wheels and the front wing in the process. The reason for the accident has not yet been explained.
2010 Turkish Grand Prix Practice 1 Session Times: