As a man who enjoys trying to be fastest through Eau Rouge at Spa, Jacques Villeneuve is a driver who knows a challenge but, following his first experience of it in Friday, the Canadian now reckons that turn eight at the new Istanbul Park circuit is the best corner in F1.

The physical and driving challenges of the fast left-hand sweep have given most of the drivers a real buzz on the opening day of the inaugural Turkish Grand Prix meeting, although they might find it tough come the race on Sunday.

"There are four apexes, it's banked, it's got bumps, it's really a tough corner," Villeneuve insisted, "It's tough to drive, and it's tough physically. Even if that corner was a right-hander, it would be hard. Even the ribs hurt in the seat. We pull more than 4Gs for a lot of seconds, so the ribs hurt - everything hurts!

"I think it's the hardest corner we have in F1 now, but the whole track is great. It's a great layout, it's got a very good rhythm, the corners are fun to drive, it goes up and down. The lines you take are not only dependent on how tight the corner is, it also depends on when it goes up and down, and you position yourself on that, so that makes it fun. The only not so fun place is the last three corners, which are a little bit tight."

In common with fellow drivers Jenson Button, David Coulthard and Nick Heidfeld, Jacques is staying in a motorhome at the track. While that means he's missed out on Istanbul's tourist sights, it also means he's avoided the mega traffic jams that are making life difficult for those staying downtown.

"Here, Magny-Cours or Silverstone, it's still in the middle of nowhere," he said, "Unless we're in a town like Montreal or Monaco, when you feel like you're somewhere, if you're in the middle of the countryside, you could be in any country. All you do is go from the motorhome or the hotel to the race, to the paddock, and back. So you don't see anything anyway, which is a little bit sad. The track is fantastic and, if you want to go through an hour-and-a-half of traffic, then the town is fantastic as well."

Villeneuve's day got off to a bad start when he got a $7000 fine for pit-lane speeding in the first session. It's one of the biggest fines that the FIA has ever had to levy for such an offence.

"That's a quick way to spend $7000!" JV grinned, "It's driver error. If the button's not working, the team pays, if the finger of the driver is not working, then the driver pays..."

 

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