Pierre Gasly found his feet on his first day as an official Formula 1 driver as he outpaced team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr. during Friday’s second session in Malaysia after placing inside the top ten in the morning session.
In the Frenchman’s first race weekend of the season in place of Daniil Kvyat within the Scuderia Toro Rosso team, Gasly was greeted by wet conditions in the opening session, but despite this he managed to complete fourteen laps and finish ninth fastest before finishing fifteenth in the afternoon session on a dry track, just under a tenth of a second better than Sainz.
Gasly admitted it was a day of learning the STR12 and the Sepang International Circuit on Friday, but he cannot wait to get back into the car on Saturday for the first qualifying session of his career.
“Today felt fantastic! My first day as a Formula 1 driver, first Free Practices… It’s been a very special day!” said Gasly.
“This morning when I drove out of the garage for the first time was a very emotional moment. I was super happy but at the same time I was focusing on the work with the team, trying to be as competitive and professional as possible from the very start.
“I think it’s been a positive first day. In this morning’s session we had tricky conditions but I managed to do quite well in the wet. In this afternoon’s FP2, I kept learning and getting used to the car and all the procedures – I have to say that I feel more and more comfortable, lap after lap.
“Of course, I still need time to get even more confident, but we are progressing well and going step by step. We will now work hard tonight and focus on tomorrow… I can’t wait to get back in the car again!”