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Why Mercedes thinks it’s only the third-best car in Turkey
Formula 1's return to action in Turkey led to a flurry of complaints about the Istanbul track surface and tyre temperatures, but the situation is being keenly felt at Mercedes. Here's why it feels it's behind Red Bull, and Ferrari, and the times that back that up…
Formula 1 returned to Istanbul for the first time in nine years and when the cars were released they went ice-driving, rallying or like using intermediates on a dry track – pick your simile.
The teams had turned up on the Asia side of the Bosphorus Bridge expecting to immediately be lapping in the 1m23-24s range – already inside the 3.31-mile track's record lap from 2005 and Juan Pablo Montoya in an MP4-20. But when they headed out for the start of FP1, the times initially set were over two minutes.
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Mercedes ended Friday practice at the Hungaroring with a clear gap to Red Bull thanks to Valtteri Bottas’s pace in topping FP2. But there are other reasons why the Black Arrows squad feels satisfied with its progress so far at a track many Formula 1 observers reckon favours Red Bull overall...
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