• Gasly receives a 2 point penalty on his racing license.
• Sainz pit stop delay added to the challenge of starting from the back of the grid.
• Both drivers fought hard in challenging conditions to bring their cars home safely.
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You could feel the air getting sucked out of the room, in this case, my in-laws' lounge, on Sunday when Fernando Alonso clipped Pierre Gasly's car into Turn one at the start of the Turkish Grand Prix.
Most of my family are Ferrari supporters, and we have one or two Red Bull fans in the house, but we were all gasping for air when we saw Alonso's Alpine spinning out as we knew the stewards would come down hard on Gasly for this incident. These days, the race stewards hand out penalties more often than they did a few seasons ago.
Too harsh on Gasly?
According to the radio chatter, Gasly responded that he was "the filling in a sandwich," but the stewards saw things differently. They decided to slap him with a 2-point penalty on his super licence. He now has a total of three points against his super licence this season. If a Formula One driver is assigned 12 points against his licence within a season, action can be taken against the driver, including a one-race ban.
Gasly still has several points on his side, and we only have six races to go in the season, but anything can happen in F1, and he could see more points added in future races if he encounters any other on-track antics that come under the stewards' review.
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I really felt for Gasly on Sunday; however, he seemed to have nowhere to go as the cars around him slid around scrabbling for grip on that wet tarmac. You could tell from the in-car footage that he respectfully held his line and that he didn't try to turn into Alonso purposefully, but it was a sheer case of wrong place, wrong time for the Alpha Tauri driver.
In their decision, the stewards, who initially deemed Gasly as "predominately" to blame, later clarified that he was "wholly" to blame for the incident. "Gasly caused a collision with Alonso during lap 1. He tried to negotiate Turn 1 with Perez on the inside and Alonso on the outside. Alonso was slightly in.
"The stewards determined that Gasly was wholly at fault for the collision, as he did not leave enough space for Alonso on the outside."
It was satisfying to watch Gasly fight back from this encounter with Alonso, see him take sixth place, and score some points for Alpha Tauri.
Sainz: Driver of the day
Formula 1 fans voted for Carlos Sainz as the day's best driver, and the Scuderia Ferrari pilot certainly deserved the accolade. He drove with focus and determination to claw his way from the back of the grid to a well-deserved eighth place overall.
It's much-needed points for Ferrari, and it's proof that Sainz can consistently score points for the team in all manner of conditions. I enjoyed watching his name pop up on the screen during the broadcast towards the latter part of the race with the fastest lap after fastest lap.
Sainz battled the weather and a pit-stop that seemed to take as long as the race itself. Perhaps, if Scuderia Ferrari hadn't stalled on that pit stop, Sainz would have been able to compete for a top-five finish in Turkey.
Nevertheless, Sunday's race was certainly one that was engaging and fun to watch. The championship leaders did their thing, and the middle of the pack gave us some proper fights to scream and shout about while watching. I'm looking forward to seeing Gasly and Sainz take these solid performances to the USA in a few weeks to see if they can challenge the top guns at Mercedes-AMG and Red Bull Racing for even more points as the championship draws to a close over the next two months.