Pierre Gasly admitted his difficult weekend at the Shanghai International Circuit started on Saturday morning as his Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda team struggled to find the kind of pace needed to be a points contender.
The Frenchman, who seven days previously had secured his first points of his Formula 1 career when he finished fourth in the Bahrain Grand Prix, had a much different weekend in China, finding himself eliminated from Qualifying at the first hurdle before causing a collision with team-mate Brendon Hartley that brought out the safety car.
Gasly says they need to analyse why Toro Rosso were best of the rest in Bahrain but no where near the same kind of pace in China.
“It was a difficult weekend for us overall because we never found the pace since Saturday morning,” said Gasly. “We knew the race would be difficult after the performance we had in qualifying and the car was quite tricky.
“Today things didn’t really work out for us, so we have plenty to analyse between the two weekends and try to understand why we were fast in Bahrain and why we struggled in Shanghai.”
Gasly took some of the responsibility for the collision with his team-mate that saw him earn a ten-second time penalty that relegated him from fifteenth to eighteenth in the final classified result, and he cited miscommunication for the clash, as he was informed the two were going to be switching places.
“I apologise to Brendon for the contact we had, the team told me that they were going to switch our positions so I went on the inside of the back straight thinking he would give me space,” said Gasly. “Unfortunately, I don’t think he saw me and once I was on the inside there was nothing I could do.
“We lost a lot of time after that, I broke my front wing and the steering bent at the end of the race, so it was really difficult to drive and we couldn’t do much from there.”
Gasly acknowledges Toro Rosso have work to do to be strong again in Azerbaijan at the end of the month, but he likes the Baku Street Circuit having finished second there during his Championship-winning GP2 Series season.
“We have some work to do to get ready for Baku, it’s a track I know and like so I’m looking forward to getting there,” said Gasly.