Pierre Gasly might have finished both Friday practice sessions for the Turkish Grand Prix in the top 10 and with some solid long run pace – but the Frenchman was not satisfied, as his “short arms” quip on team radio confirmed…
AlphaTauri started the Turkish Grand Prix weekend with Gasly eighth and ninth respectively in the two practice sessions, while team mate Yuki Tsunoda improved from a lowly P18 in FP1 to 11th in FP2. But aside from a spin that Gasly attributed to pushing beyond the limit at Turn 6, the standout moment was a team radio message where he stated, “My arms are too short to turn the wheel”, in reference to the car’s wayward handling.
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“It’s just a balance issue – I was not happy with the balance with a lot of understeer and it was just a way of explaining myself!” said Gasly, who’s failed to score points in the previous two races. “At the moment we just need to analyse everything. For sure [the balance is] a limiting factor, I believe not only for us, but we know that we need to improve it if we want to be faster tomorrow.”
With both Alpine cars finishing FP2 directly ahead of Gasly, the Frenchman says Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon are his first targets as he looks to improve on Saturday.
“Today didn’t feel good and we were ninth, so I think tomorrow we’ll definitely try to do better.
“For sure we’ll try to beat [Alpine]. It’s very close, I think it’s only a tenth, but we are a tenth behind instead of being a tenth ahead so we’ll try to find this extra pace for tomorrow.”
2021 Turkish GP FP2: Gasly flat spots tyres in Turn 6 spin
After his 18th place finish in FP1, Tsunoda’s clear improvement in the second session left him a little over 0.1s behind Gasly at the end of his first day’s running at Istanbul Park.
“It’s a really amazing track,” said Istanbul rookie Tsunoda. “I’m really enjoying the track currently. I was watching last year’s onboard and I think between last year and this year, they did a little bit of treatment on the surface and I felt there was clearly a difference in the grip level compared to last year and it was really fun.
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“I’m also improving the pace compared to previous races, which is good, and I just have to focus now and put it all together.
“This time it seems like I have good pace, so I’m just going to try and maximise this opportunity and aim for Q3.”
Although strong winds led to a number of mistakes in FP2, Tsunoda felt comfortable with the weather on Friday and would be happy with more of the same on Saturday when potential rain is forecast.
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“Today was really good conditions, in the sense that it was dry. It was windy but I think for us it was in a good direction. If it’s the opposite then maybe it will be a little bit more difficult for the car balance. But overall the wind direction was positive – a tailwind to Turn 12, which is the longest straight and you don’t want to have a headwind there.
“Tomorrow I don’t know; it could rain, to could be dry, but either way I’ll just try to have a good performance and aim for a good qualifying.”