Pierre Gasly started the German Grand Prix from the back of the grid on Sunday after a tactical engine change, and he felt his team’s gamble on Full Wet tyres during the rain shower at the Hockenheimring was worth taking, even if it was evident early that the rain was not hard enough.
The Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda driver was left floundering at the back of the pack, well off the pace as the ran three laps on the Wets, before returning to the pits to return to the Ultrasoft tyres. He would ultimately end up a lapped fourteenth, while team-mate Brendon Hartley finished tenth to claim a point.
“We knew it was going to be difficult today starting from the back because of the tactical engine penalty, so, as we didn’t have much to lose we could be bold with our strategy,” said Gasly, who dropped a position to fourteenth in the Drivers’ Championship after countryman Romain Grosjean claimed sixth place.
“The weather made things very tricky and we were unlucky gambling on our strategy when we pitted for the wet tyres as we expected more rain, but the track wasn’t wet enough and the heavier rain didn’t come.
“As the wet tyre began to overheat on the dry track, we were forced to make an additional stop to go back to the Ultrasofts. This didn’t help but we had to take the risk.”
Gasly admitted he did not expect to be leaving the pits with the Full Wets, with both Charles Leclerc and Fernando Alonso also pitting at the same time for Intermediates. Ultimately all three lost out as the rain was light and initially brief, although Gasly was the biggest loser, losing significant time even to the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team and McLaren F1 Team racers.
“At that time they asked me my opinion,” Gasly is quoted as saying by Motorsport.com. “I told them the rain is still pretty light, and they asked me to pit, but I didn’t really expect them to put the wet.
“They put them on and then I was like ‘yeah, okay, let’s try’, they have the [weather] radar and I didn’t have it, of course you don’t have this information in the car.
“I was like ‘yeah, okay, probably it’s going to work out’ and then I did three corners and I was like ‘okay, either it [the rain] comes now and then we have a chance, or we’re dead’.”
Gasly says it is now time to reset and turn his attention to this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix, eager to return to the points for the first time since the Monaco Grand Prix at the end of May.
“It just didn’t work today, so we will reset and focus on next week in Budapest,” he said.