Formula 1

Pierre Gasly: “A positive beginning” Despite Practice Incident

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Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd.

Red Bull Toro Rosso-Honda driver Pierre Gasly described Friday practice for Formula 1’s Austrian Grand Prix as “a positive beginning” despite an accident in second practice.

Frenchman Gasly, who retired from his home race last weekend, finished both free practice sessions at the Red Bull Ring within the top 10.

In the opening ninety-minute session, he was tenth fastest on a 1m:06.394s and completed 36 laps as the Toro Rosso team evaluated new upgrades, including a new front wing.

Mid-way through the afternoon session, Gasly clouted the kerb at the downhill, fast Turn nine, breaking his front-left suspension in the process, however his time of a 1m:05.758s, set on Ultrasoft tyres, was good enough to take ninth place.

Despite the incident, the Toro Rosso mechanics were able to fix the issue, and get Gasly back out onto the circuit late in the session.

It is a positive beginning,” he said. “I’ll work hard with the team tonight to find some more performance for tomorrow.

“I had a bit of a moment in FP2 where the car got damaged, but the guys did a fantastic job to repair it and get me back out before the session ended.”

Despite the encouraging pace shown by the Honda powered STR13Gasly warned caution about raising hopes of a big result.

We need to be careful because we were quite fast in Paul Ricard on Friday as well, and then things changed. I need to make sure we keep improving [as] this is a short track and the gap to the others is really tight,” he explained.

I was in the top 10 for both practice sessions and I’m feeling pretty good with the car. Hopefully we can keep the momentum [up] for tomorrow.”

Although Gasly was relatively happy with the performance of his car on Friday, team-mate Brendon Hartley struggled at Red Bull’s home circuit, with the New Zealander languishing down in nineteenth and seventeenth across the two practice sessions.

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Jake Nichol is a motorsport journalist writing about the Formula 1 world championship for The Checkered Flag. He is currently freelancing for Autosport, where his work includes IndyCar, NASCAR and UK-wide national race meetings.
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