Pierre Gasly is hoping to produce a repeat performance of his Bahrain Grand Prix of 12 months ago after a difficult start to his life as a Red Bull Racing Formula 1 driver.
Gasly failed to make it out of the first stage of qualifying at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix after a miscalculation from Red Bull left the Frenchman in the garage at the end of the session, just when the track started to lend itself to quicker times.
23-year-old Gasly finished the race just outside the points in eleventh, spending the latter part of the race camped behind Scuderia Toro Rosso‘s Daniil Kvyat, but received praise from team boss Christian Horner for his performance.
The second round of the 2019 season sees F1 and Gasly return to the Bahrain International Circuit, the site of his astonishing fourth place finish in ’18 when driving for Toro Rosso.
Having qualified sixth, promoted to fifth following a grid penalty for Lewis Hamilton, Gasly drove superbly to finish just over a minute behind race victor Sebastian Vettel and comfortably ahead of fifth-placed Kevin Magnussen.
“Bahrain is one of my favourite races,” said Gasly.
“I achieved my best result in F1 there last year with fourth place, so for me Bahrain brings back a lot of emotion and it has a real positive energy.
“Not only that, but I also had my best qualifying there with sixth, and I started the race from fifth so I have good memories.”
Bahrain could provide a welcome respite for Gasly, who entered the season under a certain pressure even before Australia – having crashed twice in winter testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in February.
Gasly holds optimism in the Honda-powered RB15, having seen team-mate Max Verstappen score a podium at Albert Park, the Japanese marque’s first for over a decade.
“Naturally, you relate places with the emotions you’ve experienced there so Bahrain sits top of my list as one of the best,” he added.
“I’m really looking forward to going back, this time with Red Bull, and especially after a tricky weekend in Melbourne last time out.
“We’ve seen our car is competitive and I like the track in Bahrain so I can’t wait to jump back in the car and get to work.”