Gasly says he had no warning before dramatic car fire that ended his FP2 session
Pierre Gasly ended his Friday running at Portimao standing at the side of the track watching fire consume the rear end of his AlphaTauri AT01 – with the Frenchman saying the blaze had a come as a complete, and unwelcome, surprise.
Halfway into Free Practice 2 for the Portuguese Grand Prix, Gasly appeared to slow going through Turn 13 before pulling over to the side of the track. However flames soon started licking out of the rear of his AT01, with Gasly desperately beckoning the marshals over to attend to the fire, which was extinguished – although AlphaTauri were set to investigate how much damage the flames had wrought.
Asked after the session when he’d become aware that there was an issue with his car, Gasly replied: “Literally five seconds before I stopped, I just lost everything, the steering, all the electricity in the car.
“We’re still investigating to understand what happened, but obviously there was quite a lot of... things burning, so we need to analyse and understand what happened.”
It wasn’t an ideal way to end his Friday, with the fire limiting Gasly’s running and meaning he didn’t set a time on the soft tyre in the qualifying simulation runs of FP2.
What was encouraging, however, was his pace, with Gasly finishing 10th in FP1, while his pre-fire time on the medium tyres in FP2 was good enough to give him seventh place, ahead of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, despite Gasly admitting to still not being entirely comfortable around Portimao.
“For sure it’s not ideal,” he said, “especially because we could not run the option [soft] tyre, we had only the base this morning so on a new track like this, it’s never great, but that’s what we get unfortunately. But we’ll try to get as much data as we can on Dany’s [team mate Daniil Kvyat’s] side.
“Pace-wise it looked pretty decent all day long but I’m still not feeling super-comfortable with the car so we can improve it for tomorrow, and it will be an important P3 because we need to recover these laps.”