FP3: Gasly heads Honda 1-2-3 at soggy Istanbul

Mark Scott
Pierre Gasly in final practice at the Turkish Grand Prix. Istanbul October 2021

AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly in final practice for the Turkish Grand Prix. Istanbul October 2021

Pierre Gasly had the most joy in the wet conditions at Istanbul Park, heading up a Honda-powered 1-2-3 in final practice ahead of Turkish Grand Prix qualifying.

The Frenchman topped the timesheet with a 1:30.447, one tenth clear of Max Verstappen. Sergio Perez rounded off the top three, a further tenth back.

The Dutchman’s World Championship rival, Lewis Hamilton, was not particularly keen on running in the tricky conditions, calling it a day early with just a handful of laps on the board and all the way down in P18 on the timesheet.

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Viewers would have feared the worst when they saw final practice start in cold, wet and miserable conditions, but thankfully we did not have to wait long for drivers to brave the elements, which were improving ever so slightly.

Inevitably, with plenty of standing water still around and the glare of the sun off the circuit causing problems, there were a few twitchy moments out on track.

25 minutes into the session, the red flags were waving as George Russell lost control through Turn 2 and beached his Williams in the gravel. Thankfully for him, there was no damage to his car ahead of the looming qualifying session.

After a brief pause to recover Russell’s car, the other 19 drivers were straight back into the thick of the action on the intermediate tyres. Verstappen immediately lowered the benchmark to a 1:32.464, but a spin soon after acted as a further warning of just how tricky the conditions were to navigate.

Sebastian Vettel then became the next driver to treat us all to a lovely 360 pirouette, going over the large sausage kerbs for good measure too. “All good,” he reported when asked if there was any damage to the car.

Back at the front, Verstappen found further improvement with a 1:31.043, but was soon joined in close company by former team-mate Pierre Gasly, who was just 0.078s off the pace.

Meanwhile, with just five timed laps on the board and down in P18, Hamilton and Mercedes called their session off early with the seven-time World Champion deciding to watch on from the garage instead.

With 15 minutes of the session remaining, Perez and Gasly both upped the ante at the top of the timesheet, the latter going two tenths clear with 1:30.447.

There was some slight hope of some dry tyre running in the closing stages, however McLaren’s Lando Norris soon shot down that suggestion saying there was “no chance” of that happening.

Verstappen came back out for one last crack at top spot in the closing stages of the session, but fell marginally short of dislodging Gasly from top spot.


1 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 1:30.447 18 laps
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull 0.164s 10
3 Sergio Perez Red Bull 0.237s 12
4 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 0.815s 21
5 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1.096s 17
6 Fernando Alonso Alpine 1.098s 14
7 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Racing 1.125s 16
8 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 1.534s 20
9 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1.549s 8
10 Esteban Ocon Alpine 1.642s 16
11 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing 1.650s 19
12 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 1.664s 13
13 Mick Schumacher Haas 1.781s 22
14 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 1.823s 17
15 Lando Norris McLaren 1.867s 17
16 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 2.901s 10
17 Nikita Mazepin Haas 2.978s 13
18 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 3.189s 5
19 Nicholas Latifi Williams 5.234s 7
20 George Russell Williams 2


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