Free Practice 2
F1 2021
Round 16

A Steady Start To The Weekend For Honda Power In Turkey

tr Istanbul Park

There were encouraging signs but still work to do for both Honda-powered teams after a solid Friday practice in Turkey.

A Steady Start To The Weekend For Honda Power In Turkey

On a track offering much more grip than a year ago - to the tune of six seconds per lap in FP1 - much of Friday was spent trying to understand car balance on a very different circuit compared to our last visit.

The two Red Bull Racing cars were looking resplendent in their special Honda liveries for this weekend and Max duly kicked off proceedings with the second quickest time, while Sergio was tenth. For Scuderia AlphaTauri, Pierre started the weekend with the eighth fastest time, while Yuki built up his confidence on another new track for him and was 18th.

Toyoharu Tanabe
Toyoharu Tanabe
Honda Racing F1
Today, at Istanbul Park, all four Honda-powered cars had trouble-free sessions in dry conditions and were able to complete all their programme.
Last year, the track surface here was new and this weekend the grip has improved a lot, so both the car and PU settings have been optimised to deal with these new conditions. However, we think there is still plenty of room for improvement and we will be studying today’s data carefully to prepare for tomorrow’s qualifying and Sunday’s race. For this Turkish GP weekend, all our cars are carrying the “arigato” (“thank you”) message on the rear wing and the Red Bull Racing cars also have a special white livery inspired by Honda’s F1 cars from the Sixties. This is further motivation for the Honda team members and we hope to have a strong race with all four cars. 

Sergio Perez
Sergio Perez 11
Red Bull Racing
It has been a positive Friday overall and with the work we will do this evening we should be looking good for qualifying. The amount of grip surprised me today; it is more like a standard track out there now, but it is still very challenging because the grip is not consistent. Sometimes on the entrance to the corner you have less grip than on the exit, so as a driver it is difficult to adjust to that aspect of this track. Mercedes look strong here but hopefully overnight we are able to chip away a couple of tenths and be in the mix for tomorrow. It is all about compromise because if you try and get the ideal balance for qualifying over one lap then you compromise the long run pace a bit, which is important here because overtaking is relatively easy. There is the potential of rain for qualifying tomorrow, but we will be well prepared, whatever the weather.

Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen 33
Red Bull Racing
It’s a super nice track especially with the improved conditions but it looks like we have a lot to go through this evening because today wasn’t the best of days. We tried a few different things going from FP1 to FP2 but we’re still looking around for improvements as we don’t have a lot of data on these cars for this track. Of course, Lewis is taking a penalty on Sunday but we have to focus on ourselves, hopefully we can make improvements before qualifying tomorrow as we have some challenges, we'll see what we can do. I’m just looking forward to the rest of the weekend and getting back out there on track.

Pierre Gasly
Pierre Gasly 10
Scuderia AlphaTauri
Today I haven’t felt that great in the car, but we’ve still come away with two strong positions which is positive, and I believe there is more we can give again tomorrow. I wasn’t too happy with the balance of the car, as I was experiencing a lot of understeer, so that’s something we’ve got to work on. I believe it’s something that a lot of drivers have been experiencing, so we need to go away and analyse what we can do to improve this and hopefully we can continue to improve our performance in FP3.

Yuki Tsunoda
Yuki Tsunoda 22
Scuderia AlphaTauri
I think this is a really amazing track and I’ve really enjoyed my first two sessions here at Istanbul Park. I’ve been building my confidence up gradually and this afternoon I think we’ve shown some good pace. The conditions today have been windy but fairly good, however tomorrow there may be rain, so this could prove trickier again. We’ll have to see what happens with the weather, and prepare as much as we can for that, but we’re happy with the performance of the car so far this weekend and I think we’ve shown a big improvement.

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