Yamamoto Left Miserable by Strength of 2017 Super Formula Team-mate Gasly

by Paul Hensby

Pierre Gasly’s 2017 team-mate in the Japanese Super Formula championship, Naoki Yamamoto, has praised the Frenchman for the way he adapted to the series, and admitted he himself was left miserable by his results, particularly at the end of the year.

2013 champion Yamamoto went into the season feeling he could be the stronger of the two drivers at Team Mugen, but Gasly ended up ahead in the championship, courtesy of two race wins at Twin Ring Motegi and Autopolis, and the twenty-one-year-old was only half a point away from series champion Hiroaki Ishiura.

Yamamoto felt Gasly’s performances meant he lost focus on his own driving, and he ultimately ended up ninth in the championship, failing to score in the final four races that corresponded with his team-mates best four results, but despite this, he felt he learned a lot from the Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda driver.

“I was impatient at that time, but I felt more miserable,” said Yamamoto to Motorsport.com. “It was a year in which I strongly felt that I did not want to lose to my team-mate Gasly.

“At first I thought he was in unfamiliar territory, but he became better than me in the second half of the season.   I think the feeling of ‘I do not want to lose’ became too strong as the year progressed, and I ended up overlooking other aspects of racing.

“It reached a point where my field of vision became too narrow. I think there was a part that I was overlooking because I really wanted to win. There were lots of things I realised at the end of the season. I got to know his strengths and learned a lot from him.”

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