Hamilton hits the ground running after taking a grid penalty

Formula 1 championLewis hamilton set the best time ahead of his title rival Max Verstappen Friday during the first practice session of the Turkish Grand Prix.

The narrow championship leader this season was 0.43 seconds ahead of the Red Bull driver in hot conditions. Charles Leclerc of Ferrari was .48 behind Hamilton in third place with his Mercedes teammate from Hamilton Valtteri Bottas fourth.

There is a second practice later on Friday at Istanbul Park.

Hamilton leads Verstappen by two points with seven races to go, including this one.

But the Mercedes the pilot’s lead may well be lost on Sunday as Hamilton starts the race with a Penalty of 10 places on the grid for exceeding his three-engine allowance for the season. Mercedes installed a fourth combustion engine on Friday.

The Istanbul track proved to be much more reliable than last year, having just been remodeled to host an F1 race for the first time since 2011 and was far too slippery.

Drivers complained about the 5.3 kilometer (3.3 mile) course surface last year, with Verstappen comparing it to an ice rink. He placed sixth in that race after qualifying in second, while Hamilton moved from sixth place on the grid to win and clinch a record-breaking seventh world title.

Red Bull is powered by Honda engines, but the Japanese manufacturer is withdrawing from F1 at the end of 2021. In honor of Honda, the two Red bull and feeding team AlphaTauri have special liveries on their cars for this race, which replaced the Japanese GP after it was canceled due to coronavirus concerns.

The Red Bulls used a predominantly white livery, inspired by the Honda that American rider Richie Ginther propelled to victory at the 1965 Mexican GP.

Pierre Gasly and house favorite AlphaTauris by Yuki Tsunoda had “Arigato” – Japanese for thank you – written on the rear fenders.

Verstappen is a major threat to Hamiltonthe candidacy for an eighth world title to be surpassed Michael schumacher and stay alone among the greats of F1. He leads Hamilton 7-5 for wins this season and 7-3 for pole positions.

First practice session Turkish Grand Prix 2021

1 L. Hamilton Mercedes 1’24 ” 178 26

2 M. Verstappen Red Bull 1’24 “603 +00” 425 24

3 C. Leclerc Ferrari 1’24 “654 +00” 476 27

4 V. Bottas Mercedes 1’24 “842 +00” 664 28

5 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1’24 “860 +00” 682 25

6 E. Ocon Alpin 1’24 “909 +00” 731 30

7 L. Norris McLaren 1’25 “347 +01” 169 26

8 P. Gasly AlphaTauri 1’25 “382 +01” 204 30

9 Fernando Alonso Alpine 1’25 “383 +01” 205 26

10 S. Perez Red Bull 1’25 “459 +01” 281 24

11 G. Russell Williams 1’25 “685 +01” 507 25

12 D. Ricciardo McLaren 1’25 “750 +01” 572 26

13 S. Vettel Aston Martin 1’25 “810 +01” 632 26

14 A. Giovinazi Alfa Romeo 1’25 “813 +01” 635 24

15 N. Latifi Williams 1’25 “863 +01” 685 28

16 K. Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 1’25 “933 +01” 755 23

17 L. Ride Aston Martin 1’26 “361 +02” 183 24

18 years Tsunoda AlphaTauri 1’26 “424 +02” 246 28

19 M. Schumacher Haas 1’26 “636 +02” 458 25

20 N. Mazepin Haas 1’27 “019 +02” 841 28

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