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  • Writer's pictureRhonan Colquhoun

F1: Hamilton on top after both Friday Practice sessions

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton leaves the Istanbul Park Circuit tonight as the driver to beat as the Championship Leader topped both of today's Practice however the Brit will take an expected grid penalty ahead of Sunday's Turkish GP.


Fitting his Mercedes with a new Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) will demote the Brit 10 places from wherever he qualifies on Saturday but despite the looming grid-drop, the Championship Leader was in fine form and topped both of the Practice sessions.

DAMAGE LIMITATION: A Two-Time Winner of the Turkish GP, Hamilton will be hoping to put the pace of his Mercedes to good use as he'll aim to make-up ground come the race

Ferrari's Carlos Sainz is set to start the race from the back of the grid as the Spaniard also takes a raft of new components. Sainz, who finished on the podium in Sochi, was upbeat when speaking to the press yesterday but seeing his team-mate's poor pace throughout the sessions, Sainz admitted he was left dissapointed.

Sainz's team-mate, Charles Leclerc, finished FP1 in third in between the battling title rivals of Hamilton and Red Bull's Max Verstappen before splitting Hamilton and Mercedes' team-mate Valterri Bottas in second in FP2. Although Leclerc finished each session reasonably well, it's thought the Monegasque was light on fuel when he posted these lap times.

Coming into the weekend second in the championship and only two points behind Hamilton, the advantage should be with Verstappen however the Dutchman admitted "it did not look good" as he struggled with car inbalance throughout the second session.

In the first session, Verstappen was over four tenths adrift of his title rival but that gap grew to over six tenths come the second session. Mid corner instability was to blame but if the Dutchman can rectify these issues, he and Red Bull should be aiming to take home maximum points in both championships come Sunday.

OVERTIME: Verstappen and his mechanics will be working overnight and through tomorrow's final Practice session in a bid to correct the instability of his RB16B

The Aston Martin duo of Lance Stroll and former Turkish GP Winner Sebastian Vettel struggled in both sessions with both drivers struggling to finish higher than 13th in each session.

In a bid to keep his seat at Alfa Romeo for next season, Antonio Giovinazzi has got his eyes set on making the final part of Qualifying tomorrow as the Italian finished tenth in FP2.


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