Pierre Gasly was furious after losing a near certain victory during Saturday’s Feature race at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza following confusion and chaos with the safety car.
Gasly had been leading comfortably before the safety car was deployed to clear up the crash of Sergio Canamasas and Arthur Pic, but instead of picking up the leader of the race – at that point it was Raffaele Marciello who had yet to make his mandatory pit stop – it picked up Gasly and allowed Marciello, Gustav Malja and Antonio Giovinazzi get a free pit stop and rejoin at the front.
The Red Bull-backed Prema Racing driver feels mistakes like this should not happen in a championship as big as GP2, and revealed it took a while to work out how a near-certain win didn’t even allow him to finish on the podium.
“A very good race, we started from pole and led the first few laps, I had a really good battle with Pic,” said Gasly. “It was difficult to keep him behind but I defended hard.
“I managed to put a bit of gap before the pit-stop. The car was great and I extended the lead, enough to pit safely. Then the team did a very good pit-stop. After that, [Norman] Nato was pushing hard behind me but once again we managed to increase the lead to four or five seconds before the safety-car.
“It’s still difficult to understand what happened. We were still virtually leading and suddenly we dropped back behind some guys who had new softs while we had used mediums. Although I did not understand, I pushed as hard as I could.
“Actually the pace was good even compared to the people on new softs but it was not enough to go on the podium. I think we can be happy because we did the best job we could.
“There has been a mess with the safety car, which is not expected at this level.”
Gasly started fifth on the grid for Sunday’s Sprint race and a good start moved him up to third into turn one, before he battled hard with Jordan King for second place. He moved up to second but was unable to do anything about Norman Nato, but after the confusion of Saturday, Gasly was happy to recover some points back on team-mate Giovinazzi.
“Had a great start I had a good fight with Jordan (King) for a couple of corners and that was exciting but when I got past, Norman (Nato) had pulled away a little bit,” said Gasly on Sunday.
“This morning I was very angry and so determined to win the race today so I went after him, must win, must win. I pushed very hard on the tyres in the beginning.
“It worked a little bit but after that the tyres started to degrade a little bit and Norman was still fast and the gap was too big in the end to catch him so I just tried to save the second place which is still some good points.
“Still a good weekend, with Pole, P4 and P2 but we expected something better. It is great to know that we are fast but it would be better if we knew that and had a 30 point lead in the championship instead of only 10. But still we will be in Malaysia even more motivated.”