Red Bull Junior driver Pierre Gasly came away from a strong GP2 Series weekend at Silverstone with a fourth and third place under his belt. The 19-year-old Frenchman’s run meant that he moved from thirteenth to seventh in the championship standings with 42 points.
Gasly said: “I think that overall it was a great weekend for us, great to see that all the hard work from everyone is starting to pay off. Of course we still have more work to do, we are not winning yet but at last we are near the front where we should have been from the start of the season.”
The DAMS driver started the weekend steadily after qualifying in sixth place, before taking fourth in Race 1 and the final podium step in Race 2, the weekend being his most outstanding of the season to date.
After a difficult start to the season, Gasly is very optimistic about the team’s chances for the rest of the year. “I would say that our season starts now.” Claimed the Frenchman. “We could still do a bit better in qualifying so that we can be challenging for the top places on the podium but we are lot closer than we have been at some of the races and we will carry that momentum to Budapest.”
Despite a small issue in practice which hurt him slightly ahead of his Silverstone debut, the DAMS driver was reasonably happy his performance in the early stages of the weekend. “Practice was quite OK, we had a small engine problem that cost us some time but P7 was OK for practice and then P6 wasn’t too bad for qualifying considering that it is my first time at Silverstone.” Without his problems, Gasly believed that he and his team could have been closer to the front at the end of qualifying: “The balance of the car wasn’t quite what we expected otherwise I think that P3 was probably possible but at least we were on the third row.”
“I enjoyed Race 1, we were on the pace with both tyres, hard and medium, so the car was working well and we got through to P4,” he admitted. Despite traffic, the pace was there for the DAMS driver and he was less than a tenth off the second place driver. “We just lost a bit of time in traffic otherwise we would have seriously challenged for 3rd. I think we had the 3rd best lap of the race.”
On Sunday, an good start worked in favour of Gasly as he made his way into the top 3 by the end of the first lap and appeared to be one of the quickest cars on track. “In Race 2 I got a good start and was up to 3rd on the first lap. In the middle of the race we were one of the quickest cars.” Despite his pace, it came down to tyre wear towards the end of the race and unfortunately, graining stopped his chances of finishing higher. “We got some graining on the tyres late on and that didn’t help but it was still a great feeling to be in the hunt at the front and back on the podium where we belong.”