Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda‘s Pierre Gasly believes that his team can challenge the top ten in Qualifying for this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix after a promising Thursday.
Gasly finished fourteenth in both Free Practice sessions, improving by eight-tenths of a second from the morning to afternoon – in line with team-mate Brendon Hartley, who almost managed to make Gasly’s top ten target in both sessions.
He said that he enjoyed his return to Monaco after a year’s absence, however, the Frenchman is yet to score points in the principality – failing to do so on both attempts in his time in the GP2 Series.
“First day in Monaco, it’s really cool to be back driving these streets,” beamed Gasly.
“The last time was in 2016, and it’s one of the most amazing tracks of the year, so it’s really good to be here.”
Gasly suspects that the midfield battle will be “super tight” and, as he regains familiarity with the unforgiving streets, believes both he and Toro Rosso could be in line for points. The 21-year-old admitted that he struggled with finding a suitable car set-up.
“We tried a couple of things today, and at the moment I think it’s really close between P7 to the back of the field,” he added. “It will be super tight this weekend.
“I didn’t really find the right settings to feel fully comfortable with the car, so I’m a bit out of sync at the moment, but Brendon looks pretty good, so we’re probably going to work and analyse more tonight to try and find the best package.
“The car seems to be fast so if we manage to find two or three tenths I think we can fight to be in the top ten – that will be the target for us to work towards tomorrow.”
Reiterating his point, Gasly stood just three-tenths of a second adrift of seventh placed Nico Hülkenberg and the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team – the best of the non-top three team performers in FP2.