Hamilton labels resurfaced Istanbul circuit ‘terrifying’

Lewis Hamilton

It was a trying Friday for Lewis Hamilton at the Istanbul Park Circuit, who described the circuit’s new low grip surface as “terrifying”.

Hamilton was slow initially, only 15th fastest in Free Practice 1 and five seconds adrift of timesheet topper Max Verstappen.

The six-time Formula 1 champion went on to set the fourth fastest time in Free Practice 2, a little over eight tenths of a second off of Verstappen.

Hamilton labelled Friday “a bit of a disaster” after he struggled to get to grips with the newly resurfaced facility.

“The track, it’s worse than Portimao was, when we had the new surface there,” said Hamilton.

“So for us at least, the tyres aren’t working, and you see it, it’s like an ice rink out there.

“You don’t get quite the enjoyment of the lap that you would normally get out of Istanbul. I don’t see that changing.”

“It’s terrifying the whole way around,” he added.

“It’s almost like there’s wet patches all over, so you’re on your slicks and accelerating and then it goes so fast, and that’s because you’re way, way below the temperature window of these tyres.”

Hamilton said he had little opportunity to change car set-up with his focus firmly on figuring out how to get his tyres up to temperature.

“I’ve not changed a single thing with the car today, because if the tyres aren’t working, then you don’t know what the balance issue is, and it’s literally just tyres,” he said.

“But you can see some other people are starting to get them to work.

“You can go from one lap to the other, and all of a sudden you find a second because the tyre worked in a couple of corners.

“Obviously the Red Bulls are doing really well with it and we’ve definitely got some work to do to figure out what we can change. We just have to try and do the best job we can.”

This weekend Hamilton can become champion elect with four grands prix remaining in the 2020 season.

Practice for Sunday’s race continues tonight ahead of qualifying at 23:00 AEDT.

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