Pierre Gasly was the surprise pacesetter in the final practice session at Intercity Istanbul Park on Saturday morning as rain struck the home of the Turkish Grand Prix.
Initially the track was saturated, and it was a few minutes into the session before anyone ventured onto the track on the full wet tyres. However, with the rain easing and then stopping, intermediate tyres were the way to go until the end.
A number of drivers found conditions difficult, particularly at turn nine where the track seemed to be holding water more than any other turn, but it was turn two that saw Williams Racing’s George Russell spin into the gravel trap after touching the wetter part of the track on the outside of the turn and aquaplaning.
Russell, who will join the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team in 2022, was unable to escape the gravel trap, and officials had no option but to throw the red flags and stop the session after twenty-two minutes had elapsed.
On resumption, the Red Bull Racing duo of Max Verstappen and Sergio Pérez took turns at the top of the timesheets, although the former was one of those to have a spin at turn nine, the Dutchman completing a neat three-hundred-and-sixty-degree spin before returning to the track.
Also finding conditions tough at turn nine and finding themselves spinning at turn nine were Charles Leclerc, Sebastian Vettel and Nikita Mazepin.
But as the track continued to dry, it was Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda’s Gasly who took over at the top, his lap of 1:30.447 enough to relegate Verstappen to second and Pérez to third.
Carlos Sainz Jr. was one of the busier drivers of the session as he continued to focus on long runs knowing that he will start at the back of the field following an engine change on his Scuderia Ferrari, but the Spaniard ended fourth fastest ahead of team-mate Leclerc.
Fernando Alonso ended sixth for the Alpine F1 Team ahead of Kimi Räikkönen, who was one of the last to improve his time for the Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN team to jump up to seventh, while AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda, Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas and the second Alpine of Esteban Ocon completed the top ten.
Alfa Romeo were summoned for an informal chat to the stewards after the session after Räikkönen was released into the path of Mick Schumacher in the pit lane, while Antonio Giovinazzi missed out on the top ten in the second Alfa Romeo.
However, the Italian finished just ahead of the leading Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team car of Vettel, while Schumacher was an impressive thirteenth for the Uralkali Haas F1 Team ahead of both the McLaren F1 Team drivers, Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris.
2020 polesitter Lance Stroll was only sixteenth in the second Aston Martin, just ahead of Haas’ Mazepin, while current championship leader Lewis Hamilton completed only five laps and ended eighteenth in the second Mercedes, ahead only of Williams’ Nicholas Latifi and Russell.
Intercity Istanbul Park Free Practice 3 Result
|1||10||Pierre Gasly||FRA||Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda||1:30.447||19|
|2||33||Max Verstappen||NED||Red Bull Racing||1:30.611||+0.164||11|
|3||11||Sergio Pérez||MEX||Red Bull Racing||1:30.684||+0.237||13|
|4||55||Carlos Sainz Jr.||ESP||Scuderia Ferrari||1:31.262||+0.815||22|
|5||16||Charles Leclerc||MON||Scuderia Ferrari||1:31.543||+1.096||18|
|6||14||Fernando Alonso||ESP||Alpine F1 Team||1:31.545||+1.098||15|
|7||7||Kimi Räikkönen||FIN||Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN||1:31.572||+1.125||17|
|8||22||Yuki Tsunoda||JAP||Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda||1:31.981||+1.534||21|
|9||77||Valtteri Bottas||FIN||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team||1:31.996||+1.549||8|
|10||31||Esteban Ocon||FRA||Alpine F1 Team||1:32.089||+1.642||17|
|11||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||ITA||Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN||1:32.097||+1.650||21|
|12||5||Sebastian Vettel||GER||Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team||1:32.111||+1.664||14|
|13||47||Mick Schumacher||GER||Uralkali Haas F1 Team||1:32.228||+1.781||23|
|14||3||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||McLaren F1 Team||1:32.270||+1.823||18|
|15||4||Lando Norris||ITA||McLaren F1 Team||1:32.314||+1.867||18|
|16||18||Lance Stroll||CAN||Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team||1:33.348||+2.901||11|
|17||9||Nikita Mazepin||RUS||Uralkali Haas F1 Team||1:33.425||+2.978||14|
|18||44||Lewis Hamilton||GBR||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team||1:33.636||+3.189||5|
|19||6||Nicholas Latifi||CAN||Williams Racing||1:35.681||+5.234||8|
|20||63||George Russell||GBR||Williams Racing||No Time||–||2|