Pierre Gasly was hit by a “shocking” front wing failure as he pushed to try and beat Valtteri Bottas in qualifying at the Qatar Grand Prix.
Bottas was sitting third behind teammate Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen as the final runs in Q3 were taking place, with Gasly fourth having been in the top four throughout every practice session. The AlphaTauri driver ran slightly wide at the penultimate corner and his front wing broke, falling under the car and puncturing his right-front tire, preventing him from completing his lap.
Disaster for Pierre Gasly at the end of qualifying 😩
The Frenchman suffered a puncture, bringing an early finish to his session
— Formula 1 (@F1) November 20, 2021
“Qualifying has been amazing, the whole weekend so far has been really, really good,” Gasly said. “This track, I think, is one of my favorites as well –just driving, nice car balance, we are able to really push to the limit and it’s been really great to drive here.
“The last lap in Q3, I was improving by 1.5 tenths, so I think we were very close to Valtteri — I don’t know if he was improving or not but our lap was coming together really well. On the outside of Turn 15 I pushed a bit more, it was quite shocking inside of the car to lose the whole front wing and just blew the whole front-right tire, so that was it.
“At the end of the day we did our job, qualified fourth behind the two top teams and it’s been a really impressive weekend from our team so far.”
Gasly admits the latest failure is not a massive surprise given similar issues in previous races for AlphaTauri, although he didn’t think he’d gone wide enough in the corner to risk such a problem.
“We know our front wing is really weak compared to others — I lost it in Bahrain, I lost it in Monza, I lost it in Sochi over the different curbs, so it just seems to be really fragile. I need to review it — it didn’t seem like I went super wide on it but clearly it just broke suddenly.”