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Gasly says ‘very tricky’ start led to first lap contact with Alonso in Turkish GP as he ends point-less run


Pierre Gasly put disappointing weekends in Monza and Sochi behind him to claim P6 in the Turkish Grand Prix – a fact made all the more impressive after he was handed a five-second penalty for first corner contact with Alpine’s Fernando Alonso.

Starting P4 to Alonso’s P5 in damp conditions, Gasly tapped the Alpine driver into a spin going through Turn 1, claiming over team radio that he’d been “sandwiched” between Alonso and the Red Bull of Sergio Perez.

READ MORE: Bottas holds off Verstappen and Perez to claim first win of 2021 in damp Turkish GP

The stewards, however, ruled that Gasly had been “wholly at fault for the collision, as he did not leave enough space for [Alonso] on the outside”, handing the Frenchman a five-second time penalty and two penalty points on his licence – with Gasly giving his verdict of events after the race.

“We were three wide and obviously it’s always very tricky in these sorts of situations,” he said. “I haven’t really seen the footage yet, but there was a contact. I tried to go pretty much where I could, but with Sergio on the inside and [Fernando] on the outside, it was pretty tight coming into Turn 1.”

Pierre Gasly ‘really pleased’ to be ‘in the mix’ in Turkish GP

Gasly, however, would shake off the penalty, showing a great turn of speed in the final part of the race to finish P6 – less than three seconds behind Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, and just 10.821s behind third-placed Perez. And rather than ruminating on what might have been possible without the penalty, Gasly was taking the positives from Turkey.

“I’m really pleased with our performance,” said Gasly, who failed to score in the Italian and Russian Grands Prix. “To be back in the top six is fantastic, and also only 10 seconds from the podium, considering we had the five-second time penalty. So we were clearly in the mix today, finishing a couple of seconds behind Lewis and not far from Charles as well. So happy with that.

READ MORE: Leclerc says no regrets after late stop rules out Ferrari podium

“The last two previous races, in terms of performance, were really good, but we know that on Sundays we didn’t really maximise the opportunities,” Gasly added. “I think this weekend, that’s what we did, and the target is clearly to perform that way until the end of the year.”

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