Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri, Paul Ricard, 2021

Gasly not convinced first Q3 lap time should have been deleted

2021 French Grand Prix

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Pierre Gasly says it’s “arguable” whether he exceeded track limits at turn six on his first run in Q3 that was deleted by the stewards.

Gasly qualified in sixth place for his home grand prix but only after he had two lap times deleted for running too wide on the exit of turn six, in Q2 and Q3 respectively.

The AlphaTauri driver expressed his frustration over team radio to race engineer Pierre Hamelin after he was informed his first lap in Q3 had been wiped for track limits.

Gasly was able to complete a legitimate time on his second and final run, beating Charles Leclerc in the Ferrari to sixth on the grid.

FIA race director Michael Masi informed teams before final practice that the exit of turn six would be monitored for track limits for the rest of the French Grand Prix weekend. Despite falling foul of the new rules twice in qualifying, Gasly is not convinced he was guilty of the offence.

“I think I was on the limit,” says Gasly. “In Q2, I couldn’t see. In Q3, honestly, as I say, I think it’s arguable from what I saw on TV. Okay, my screen in the car is quite small, but to me, it looked like I was still in.

“Sometimes in the past there they’ve definitely kept some lap times with a much worse situation. But at the end of the day, you know, that’s what it is. And then I improved my lap time afterwards so I don’t care so much, but obviously it was quite frustrating at the time. But I’m the one inside the car and Michael is the one deciding. As long as he keeps it consistent between all of us, that’s the most important thing.”

Having recorded his fifth top six grid position in the opening seven rounds of the 2021 season, Gasly says he is “excited” about his chances for a good result in tomorrow’s race.

“After FP3, the pace was really positive,” he says. “Now we’re all on the same kind of strategy, I guess. So we’ll have to see what we can do from there.

“I feel with the car we made a very good improvement for qualifying, so hopefully it’s going to give us some improvement for the race pace for tomorrow compared to what we showed in FP2. I’m excited.”

Pierre HamelinYou can keep up the pace. And the lap time was deleted. Time deleted again.
Pierre GaslyWhere?
Pierre HamelinTurn six.
Pierre GaslyIs this a fucking joke? Can you check?
Pierre HamelinWe were just outside. We were just about off side. So we’ll focus on the next set now. We have one more set to go – don’t worry.

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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10 comments on “Gasly not convinced first Q3 lap time should have been deleted”

  1. Recalling the TV feed, I think they could have given him the benefit of a very marginal call, especially given other drivers were exceeding the track limits regularly elsewhere (no names mentioned Max).

    1. if you mean the second corner. A lot of drivers did it but there is no advantage gained by that corner.
      But again policing the track limits always is messy and i am afraid we will see more of those decisions tomorrow.

      1. I think it was Martin Brundle who got momentarily excited that Max’s first q3 lap might get deleted. I’m not really sure there’s no advantage (why would they go out wide regularly if it didn’t benefit their lap somehow?) but let’s hope we don’t get a repeat of enforcement by race control changing mid-race.

    2. @david-br
      People should pay attention to which corners are actually the target. For this track, only T6, no other. Zero advantage at T2 exit because of small speed bumps.

      1. People shouldn’t need to pay attention to which corner has a limit and which doesn’t.
        It should be known automatically to all that there is a complete and consistent track limit, and the consequences for exceeding them unnecessarily should also be equally consistent.

  2. I think his rear tire was in contact with white line all the time.

    1. That was what I thought as well. Same with some other calls where laptimes were deleted.

  3. Didn’t know gasly’s engineer had the same first name as the driver!

  4. He was over. ”Sometimes in the past” – This is because lap time invalidation wasn’t done regularly overall.

  5. I looked at the replay in super-slow-mo. Gasly never had all 4 wheels over the line. Any claim by stewards or anyone else should be supported by a screen grab showing the offence happening. The tech is there, it should be used if there is a penalty to be applied.

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