AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly went quickest final practice for the FIA Formula 1 Turkish HGrand Prix with Max Verstappen second ahead of Red Bull team-mate Sergio Pérez. Championship leader Lewis Hamilton finished in 18th place after completing just five laps in the wet conditions.
The session got underway in wet conditions, with steady rain falling across the track. The forecast suggest conditions would improve steadily and that meant there was little running in the opening minutes.
However, after eight minutes AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda got the action underway, though both were cautious as they tip-toed around on full wet tyres. They were soon joined by the McLarens of Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris and the Ferraris of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc.
Sainz soon moved to the top of the order with a full wet tyre time of 1:36.299. Norris, meanwhile, moved to intermediate tyres but even though bright sunshine was now drying the track he couldn’t match the Spaniard’s time and he slotted into second place with a lap of 1:36.620.
It was clear that the inter would soon be the quicker tyres but before anyone could exploit that developing potential the session was red-flagged when William’s George Russell lost control at the exit of Turn 2 and beached his car in the gravel.
The session got underway after a short delay to recover the Briton’s car and when it did Hamilton immediately jumped to the top of the order with a lap of 1:33.636. Verstappen was close behind on track, however, and with the track improving rapidly he carved 1.1s off that benchmark to claim P1 with a lap of 1:32.464.
That stood as the quickest lap for several minutes before Alpine’s Esteban Ocon jumped ahead with a lap of 1:31.996 but Verstappen was soon back in P1 with a much improved time of 1:31.043. Leclerc then slotted into second place, half a second behind the Red Bull man with Ferrari team-mate Sainz a further 1500ths back in third place.
Gasly then took second place, fourth tenths quicker than Leclerc, but then Sergio Pérez rose from the edge of the top 10 to claim P1 with a lap of 1:30.684. His stay in P1 was short, though, as with 15 minutes left in the session Gasly found a good improvement and claimed top spot with a lap of 1:30.447.
With 10 minutes left in the session the bulk of the field retreated to the pit lane, with only the Ferraris of Sainz and Leclerc still on track as they completed more laps on the intermediate tyres.
Verstappen made a late improvement to claim second place just under two tenths behind Gasly, while Pérez ended the session in third place. Sainz and Charles Leclerc finished fourth and fifth respectively, with Fernando Alonso sixth for Alpine. Alga Romeo’s Kimi Räikkönen finished seventh for Alfa Romeo ahead of Tsunoda, Mercedes’ Valtterti Bottas and Alpine’s Esteban Ocon.
2021 FIA Formula 1 Turkish Grand Prix – Free Practice 3
1 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri/Honda 1:30.447 19 212.464
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Honda 1:30.611 0.164 11 212.080
3 Sergio Pérez Red Bull/Honda 1:30.684 0.237 13 211.909
4 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:31.262 0.815 22 210.567
5 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:31.543 1.096 18 209.921
6 Fernando Alonso Alpine/Renault 1:31.545 1.098 15 209.916
7 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1:31.572 1.125 17 209.854
8 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri/Honda 1:31.981 1.534 21 208.921
9 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:31.996 1.549 8 208.887
10 Esteban Ocon Alpine/Renault 1:32.089 1.642 17 208.676
11 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1:32.097 1.650 21 208.658
12 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin/Mercedes 1:32.111 1.664 14 208.626
13 Mick Schumacher Haas/Ferrari 1:32.228 1.781 23 208.361
14 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren/Mercedes 1:32.270 1.823 18 208.267
15 Lando Norris McLaren/Mercedes 1:32.314 1.867 18 208.167
16 Lance Stroll Aston Martin/Mercedes 1:33.348 2.901 11 205.861
17 Nikita Mazepin Haas/Ferrari 1:33.425 2.978 14 205.692
18 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:33.636 3.189 5 205.228
19 Nicholas Latifi Williams/Mercedes 1:35.681 5.234 8 200.842
20 George Russell Williams/Mercedes 2