It has rained overnight in Istanbul and the change in conditions has somewhat reshuffled the deck.
The final order of FP3 and qualifying later on today will very much depend on what happens with the conditions and if that rain sticks around. There is still the possibility that this shower-prone weather will hang around for qualifying, with the forecast set to clear up ahead of Sunday’s race.
The final practice session was interrupted after roughly twenty minutes when Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri spun off at Turn 11 on his out lap on the inters. He lost the rear and half spun, which won't have done his tyres any good at all. A combination of poor grip, aquaplaning and a bit too much speed there.
Soon after Gasly, Mazepin lost control of his HAAS in the same point as the French. However, it was Russell flying out at Turn 2 to lead the race direction to call for a red flag. The interruption didn’t last long as George Russell’s Williams was easily cleared from the gravel.
The AlphaTauri man topped the timing sheets with a 1m 30.447s, 0.164s ahead of Verstappen and the Mexican Sergio Perez in third. This is the second practice session Gasly has topped this year – the other being FP3 in Baku. The Frenchman seems to feel very comfortable on the intermediate rubber and looks in very tidy form. Who knows whether these conditions will hold on for qualifying.
The Ferrari boys were looking as strong in the mixed conditions as they were in the dry yesterday. Leclerc finished the session in fifth place behind by Carlos Sainz.
The Monegasque has proved earlier this season that his Ferrari is quick over one lap, might be a very good candidate for pole later on Saturday’s afternoon. On the other hand, teammate Carlos Sainz has shown multiple times to be strong under slippery weather conditions, however, he has to discount a grid penalty. So, regardless of how he will qualify, the change to his PU components means he will start from the back tomorrow.
The top-ten is completed by Spaniard Fernando Alonso, a very fast Kimi Raikonnen, followed by Yuki Tsunoda, Bottas and Ocon.
Another team to watch out for is McLaren. Coming out of two strong races in Monza and Sochi, the team seemed pretty confident yesterday. The two drivers however concluded the session in P13 and P14 with Norris following his Aussie mate.
The two McLarens are squeezed between Vettel and Schumacher – eleventh and twelfth respectively, and the other two Aston Martin and Haas drivers, Lance Stroll and Nikita Mazepin.
The grid is completed by Hamilton and the two Williams. It was a weird session for the record-breaking 100-race winner Lewis Hamilton. He topped both Friday’s sessions yet, because of a new ICE, he has earned a 10-place grid drop. He completed just five laps on his way to P18, and Bottas didn't do too many more.
Qualifying could be a thrilling session this afternoon. If the track dries, then it will be green, with all that rubber laid down yesterday washed off. So it will be fascinating to see who pushes flat out and who takes it a bit more cautiously.