By Alex Kapadia
Reigning F1 world champion Jenson Button swept to the top of the time sheets on the first day of practice for the Turkish Grand Prix using Bridgestone’s soft tyres.
While the McLaren driver was quickest in the afternoon, his team mate Lewis Hamilton used the hard tyres to best effect to go fastest during the morning session.
Hirohide Hamashima, director of motorsport tyre development for Bridgestone, said: “Today we met a very dirty and dusty track, which is usual for the first day’s running at Istanbul Park as this circuit is not used as frequently as others we visit.
“This meant that finding sufficient grip was difficult and we saw quite a lot of graining on the right front and right rear tyres because of this.”
He added: “This was the first time we have experienced Turn Eight with the latest specification cars and on heavy fuel loads, so it was a very interesting day for us. Now we will analyse the tyres very closely, including cutting them up and examining them under the microscope.”
Hamashima also said tyre management will be a vital for Sunday’s race. He said: “The key here is the amount of track surface evolution which occurs before Sunday and then during the course of the race.
“As we saw today, the track temperature was very hot, so careful tyre management from car set-up and the drivers will be very important this weekend.”