Pierre Gasly snatched second place in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series championship ahead of Roberto Merhi after taking two top six finishes at the season finale at Jerez.
The eighteen-year-old Red Bull Junior finished sixth in race one on Saturday before finishing fourth on Sunday, but Gasly went into the weekend hopeful of taking his maiden victory, but left disappointed once more. During race one, he was forced to follow Beitske Visser, a former Red Bull Junior driver herself, on a track where overtaking was extremely difficult.
“For sure this weekend was a bit frustrating and could be seen as a missed opportunity to get the win that I think we deserved but it was just a result of the track and the situation,” said Gasly. “Passing here is so difficult and qualifying went against us. On Saturday I was twice on a lap to make pole only to be held up in the last sector. I finally was just 2 tenths from pole at the end so that was very disappointing.
“After that the first race was pretty boring. With the aero effects here it is just about impossible to overtake so I was stuck all race in P6.”
On Sunday, he originally qualified third but moved up to second after Roberto Merhi was penalised for blocking, but a problem during his mandatory pit stop saw him drop off the podium once more, finishing just behind his Arden Motorsport team-mate William Buller in fourth.
“In qualifying [on Sunday] we had some issues with the brakes and then again got blocked and lost 1.5 tenths which would have given us the second fastest time and in fact pole because Merhi was penalised, so again bit frustrating,” said Gasly.
“We had the pace to do well in the race though and I was right there behind Rowland, planning to do something late in the race but for the only time this year the team lost us a few seconds at the pit stop and that dropped us back to P4.
“That is a real shame because it would have been good to finish the year on the podium but we shouldn’t let that detract from the season as a whole. The main thing is that we finished second in the Championship and I am certainly happy with that.”
Although Gasly admitted that his season overall was a positive one, he knew his early season form had cost him the opportunity to follow his 2013 Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 Series title with the 2014 Formula Renault 3.5 Series championship.
“It has been a great season, a lot of work from everyone,” asserts Gasly. “It certainly wasn’t easy but the guys gave me a great car all year and enabled me to really show what I could do. It was fantastic support and I learnt so much this season. I was racing against people with a lot more experience and we made it a great year, consistently good results, often on the podium.
“We lost too many points early in the season to be as much of a threat to Carlos for the championship as we would have liked but the points score in the second half showed what we could do and I am sure everything I learnt this season will be a big help for my career.”