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Button, Hamilton top Turkish GP practices

Button, Hamilton top Turkish GP practices

McLaren showed it may challenge Red Bull for a Turkish Grand Prix victory this weekend as Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton each topped one of Friday's two practice sessions.
Button, the defending F1 champion, had the day's fastest lap time of 1 minute, 28.280 seconds to lead the afternoon session after Hamilton was fastest in the morning on a hot day at the Istanbul Park Circuit.
But overall F1 leader Mark Webber was just under one-tenth of a second off Button's pace before calling it a day at the end of the second session as smoke began billowing out of his Red Bull engine.
Webber shares 78 points with teammate Sebastian Vettel but leads on race wins after winning back-to-back GPs coming into Istanbul. Vettel was third fastest with a lap of 1:28.590.
Hamilton was next in the afternoon in 1:28.672, ahead of Fernando Alonso of Ferrari. Mercedes pair Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher were next.
Robert Kubica was 0.945 back in eighth ahead of Renault teammate Vitaly Petrov, while Ferrari driver Felipe Massa _ a three-time winner at the "Otodrom" _ was 10th.
Alonso has 75 points after six races, Button _ who won in Istanbul last year _ has 70, and Massa is next with 61. Hamilton and Kubica share 59 points.
McLaren's belief it can challenge Red Bull on a circuit suited to its car showed to the few fans who came to the track, where temperatures reached 51 degrees Celsius (124 degrees Fahrenheit).
The high temperatures caused significant tire degradation as Karun Chandhok avoided a crash after skidding across the tarmac in the afternoon stint.
Force India driver Adrian Sutil did crash at the end of the 90-minute morning practice, plowing into the wall at the high speed Turn 8 but emerged from his car unhurt.
Sakon Yamamoto replaced Bruno Senna in the morning, with the Japanese test driver lapping a slowest time of 1:36.137 for HRT, one of three rookie teams that has yet to score a point. Sauber is the only established team without a point after six races.
Practice wraps on Saturday before qualifying for Sunday's 58-lap race.


Updated : 2021-05-08 10:35 GMT+08:00