Hamilton struggles to fourth in Turkish Grand Prix Friday practice

Lewis Hamilton off the pace in fourth after Turkish Grand Prix practice on weekend he hopes to land seventh title… but Max Verstappen deals with slippery conditions best to complete Friday double in Istanbul

  • Max Verstappen was fastest in both Friday practice sessions for Turkish GP
  • However all drivers appeared to struggle with slippery track throughout day 
  • Mercedes star Lewis Hamilton was among those bemoaning lack of grip 
  • Hamilton was 0.850 seconds off Verstappen’s quickest time set for Red Bull  
  • Charles Leclerc completed  an encouraging day for Ferrari second quickest
  • Hamilton’s team-mate and sole title rival Valtteri Bottas was third 

Lewis Hamilton finished fourth in practice ahead of his bid to win a record-equalling world championship at Sunday’s Turkish Grand Prix.

Hamilton can emulate Michael Schumacher by securing his seventh title if he takes the chequered flag for a 10th time this season in Istanbul on Sunday.

But the Mercedes star, only 15th in the opening running here, ended the first day on Formula One’s return to Turkey 0.850 seconds behind pacesetter Max Verstappen.

Lewis Hamilton bemoaned a lack of grip to end Friday practice fourth quickest in Istanbul

Red Bull star Max Verstappen was fastest in Friday’s sessions for the Turkish Grand Prix

The Dutchman made best use of the slippery track to go comfortably fastest

Red Bull’s Verstappen completed a practice double on Friday to suggest he could deny Hamilton the chance to take the championship in style.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was second ahead of Valtteri Bottas. The Finnish driver, 85 points adrift in the standings, is the only man who can stop Hamilton from winning the title.

Hamilton will be crowned champion if he finishes Sunday’s race ahead of Bottas with three races still go in including a double in Bahrain and in Abu Dhabi

Ferrari were left encouraged by Charles Leclerc who ended the day second quickest

Many drivers struggled with the low grip in the autumnal conditions around the circuit 

Mercedes have dominated the season with the Silver Arrows starting every race from pole and taking 11 wins from 13 rounds.

But the sport’s all-conquering team and their star driver might not have it all their own way here.

The sport last staged a race in Turkey back in 2011 and the fast-flowing Istanbul Park circuit resembled an ice rink as the drivers failed to get sufficient temperature into their tyres on the resurfaced tarmac.

Lewis Hamilton endured a frustrating morning to only go 15th fastest in opening practice

Hamilton will be hoping to win a record equalling seventh world title in Turkey on Sunday

The Brit is seen arriving for the first practice session which many drivers found difficult

Although the conditions improved as the asphalt was rubbered in, Hamilton spent much of the second session bemoaning a lack of grip. He finished almost three tenths behind Bottas in the other Mercedes.

Verstappen has consistently out-performed his Red Bull machinery this year, and the Dutchman will hope he can build on his practice speed to take a second win of the campaign.

There will be some joy for Ferrari, too, with Leclerc four tenths back in second.

Max Verstappen was fastest for Red Bull in the tricky morning session in Istanbul

The Dutchman was one of many to spin on a surface showing incredibly low grip

Kimi Raikkonen navigates the circuit which still had elements of damp patches, with the track having been washed overnight

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