Pierre Gasly described qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix as “stressful and exciting”, given the changeable conditions throughout Qualifying 2, as he recorded his first Qualifying 3 appearance since Japan.
Gasly was the sole Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda representative in Q2 and Q3, rounding out the top ten of the grid. His starting position will be elevated by one spot due to Daniel Ricciardo‘s five-place grid penalty for a surplus turbocharger change.
The Frenchman was nearly two seconds shy of Lewis Hamilton‘s pole time, but nevertheless the Frenchman said that the team’s eighth top ten qualifying result was “a great achievement”, particularly at a track that is relatively dependent on engine power.
“I felt really good with qualifying,” said Gasly. “It’s a great achievement to get into Q3 today.
“I’m happy with my performance and P9 is a good position to start from tomorrow. It was quite stressful and exciting at the same time for the whole session.”
Gasly explained that the varying rain level was the reason for finding the session difficult, with some drivers underestimating the level of grip left on the track despite the damp conditions.
“The rain increased in Q1, but we managed to put everything together to make it through to Q2 and then Q3,” he continued.
“It was tricky, because in these weather conditions you never know what to expect, how much grip you will have when you approach the corners, how wet they are going to be, but I think we did really well in the end.”
Despite the promising Saturday performance, Gasly ceded that maintaining a position in the top ten will not be rudimentary, expecting fierce competition from the rest of the midfield behind him. However, the Frenchman was adamant that he will “push flat out” to make up for the car’s relative performance difference.
“Even if we finished today’s qualifying in the top 10, it won’t be an easy race as our competitors around us are very fast,” Gasly noted.
“I hope we will have some good battles and I will certainly push flat out to score some more points tomorrow.”