French driver Pierre Gasly posted the fastest time in a rainy third and final practice session for the Turkish Grand Prix ahead of qualifying
ISTANBUL — French driver Pierre Gasly posted the fastest time in a rainy third and final practice session for the Turkish Grand Prix ahead of qualifying later Saturday.
The AlphaTauri driver was .24 seconds quicker than Red Bull driver Sergio Perez and .6 clear of Perez’s teammate Max Verstappen on the 5.3-kilometer (3.3-mile) Istanbul Park circuit.
Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton was way down in 18th spot but hardly took part. He was saving tires for qualifying, where he bids for a record-extending 102nd pole position.
The Mercedes star leads Verstappen by two points in a thrilling title race but could well be overtaken by the Dutchman on Sunday.
Hamilton has taken a 10-place grid penalty for going over his allocation of three engines for the season. Mercedes fitted a fourth combustion engine Friday. It means that even if Hamilton gets pole No. 102, he’ll start 11th and will be battling through traffic.
Hamilton was trailing Verstappen 7-3 for poles this season. There are six races to go after Turkey.
The final practice session was halted for a few minutes approaching the halfway point when Williams driver George Russell went off the track and into gravel.
In wet conditions, Verstappen, four-time F1 champion Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc all did 360-degree spins before regaining control of their cars.
The track has proved much more reliable than last year, when it had just been re-laid to host an F1 race for the first time since 2011 and was too slippery.
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