Pierre Gasly knew he would be starting from the back of the grid on Sunday after the latest engine upgrade from Honda but was happy with the progress seemingly made after placing seventh in Q1 at the Circuit of the Americas.
The Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda driver only completed some installation laps in Q2 knowing he would be nineteenth on the grid at best, but the STR13 has shown itself to be a competitive car so far in the United States, even though the weather has forced the team to remove some of the updates brought to the track for the Frenchman.
Never-the-less, Gasly was positive about the performance on Saturday, and although he will have a lot of work to do to fight for points, he insists he will give it his all to possibly bring home a point or two.
“Q1 was really positive today, I enjoyed that lap and it was good to finish in seventh position,” said Gasly. “As we will start from the back of the grid, there wasn’t much reason to run in Q2, but the new engine specification is a great step and the car feels really good.
“All weekend I felt very comfortable in the car which behaved well in both the wet and dry conditions. We already know that tomorrow’s race won’t be easy, we have a lot of cars to overtake and a few good battles in front of us, but if the performance is still there I’ll give a big push and I hope we can achieve the best result possible.”
Team-mate Brendon Hartley will join the Frenchman on the back row following his own engine change but followed Gasly into Q2 on Saturday at the expense of McLaren F1 Team’s Fernando Alonso.
The New Zealander admits it will be an uphill battle to break into the points, but he wants to be in a position to take advantage of any opportunity that presents itself to them.
“It didn’t really matter where we qualified today as we are starting tomorrow’s race from the back,” said Hartley. “After this morning’s running, we’ve set the car up for the race as much as we could and used Q2 as a session for doing practice starts.
“It will be an uphill race tomorrow, but we definitely have the pace to fight. Hopefully we’ll be able to benefit from any opportunity that might come our way, we just have to be ready.”