Hamilton, who leads the world championship by two points going into this weekend, dominated the first hour-long practice session at Istanbul Park to finish 0.425s clear of Red Bull’s Verstappen. 

The seven-time world champion will take a 10-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race in Turkey after Mercedes elected to fit a fresh engine on his car, having concluded it could not risk leaving Hamilton on just two power units for the rest of the season. 

Verstappen struggled to match Hamilton’s FP1 pace as he reported having “no front end” in his Red Bull, which is sporting a striking one-off white livery this weekend as a tribute to outgoing engine partner Honda.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was third-quickest, just 0.051s shy of Verstappen and nearly two-tenths clear of Valtteri Bottas’s Mercedes. 

Carlos Sainz, who will start from the back of the grid after taking Ferrari’s upgraded engine, rounded out the top five ahead of Alpine’s Esteban Ocon and Lando Norris, who was the fastest McLaren driver in seventh. 

Pierre Gasly made it six different teams to feature inside the top 10 as he took eighth in his AlphaTauri, ahead of two-time world champion Fernando Alonso and Red Bull’s Sergio Perez. 

Mercedes-bound George Russell continued Williams’ recent impressive upswing in form as he finished the opening practice session 11th ahead of Daniel Ricciardo’s McLaren. 

As has often been the case this season, F1 rookies Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin were anchored to the very bottom of the timesheets in Haas’ underdeveloped 2021 car, over 2 seconds off the pace.

Full results from opening practice at the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix.