Pierre Gasly got a “shock” when he ventured out onto the very slippery Istanbul Park or the first time ahead of the Turkish GP.
There was little to be had from Friday practice when it came to determining a pecking order as Formula 1 returned to Turkey for the first time since 2011, instead drivers had their work cut out just trying to keep on the track due to an extremely slippery new surface.
One of the teams who ultimately did benefit though were AlphaTauri. By the end of Friday Daniil Kvyat was sitting P6 with Gasly just over two tenths behind in P7.
“It was a bit of a shock this morning when we found out how slippery the track was, but overall it was a pretty fun day to drive in these conditions,” Gasly told reporters.
“It was very unusual having to drive an F1 car with the grip being so low. I think we have to revise and re-analyse a bit what we want to do in terms of the car set-up and strategy for the weekend and try to work from there.
“The performance so far seems to be quite good, but it’s very tricky, so we need to really nail everything if we want to be competitive tomorrow.”
Drivers were able to find more grip as the day went on, and Gasly promised a “spicy” race, as long as the softer compounds give some extra confidence for some close racing.
“I can tell you it is going to be spicy, for sure,” he promised.
“There is no doubt about that but we just need to make sure we do our thing properly.
“The tyres are playing such a big factor and we can see it with the gaps which are a lot bigger than usual.
“If you manage to get the tyres in the right window, you can extract a lot more performance so I think there are a lot more things we need to understand. Hopefully, we can take a step forward tomorrow.”
— Scuderia AlphaTauri (@AlphaTauriF1) November 13, 2020
Kvyat was driving around Istanbul Park for the first time having never visited the venue in any category, while COVID-19 restrictions means he had also done zero simulator work.
So to end Friday P6 ahead of his team-mate was quite an achievement.
“I think we had a productive Friday, we completed our programme and everything we wanted to do, we managed to have a decent day on a new track for us,” he explained.
“It’s very particular and grip conditions were very poor today, but we’ve been learning and trying to understand what to do to make the car faster in these conditions.
“It’s my first time racing here and the track is quite cool, it’s just a shame about the grip levels. We will be working overnight to maximise the car’s performance for tomorrow.”