Pierre Gasly admitted he and Red Bull Racing misjudged the track evolution that was ultimately seen during Qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix, meaning the Frenchman was eliminated in Q1.
Both Gasly and team-mate Max Verstappen attempted to get through Q1 with only one set of tyres, but whereas the Dutchman improved on his second timed run, the Frenchman did not, and ultimately he saw himself slip further and further down the timing screens while drivers improved their times.
“I had a bit of traffic in Turn 1 but apart from that, I was quite happy with my Q1 lap,” said Gasly. “We went for one run whilst most others went for two and it cost us.
“I think we’ve been quite optimistic as we didn’t expect such track evolution and the pack to be so close. We’re not exactly where we’d like to be but session after session we’re going in the right direction.”
Starting seventeenth is not ideal for Gasly, particularly on an Albert Park track notoriously difficult to overtake on, but he will be aiming to break into the points on his first start since his move to Red Bull from Scuderia Toro Rosso.
“There were not many overtakes at last year’s race so starting from where we are, it’s going to be difficult but we will of course try and make it into the points,” said the Frenchman. “It’s a tough day today but we need to stay positive.
“For me, tomorrow will be all about gaining experience in the car and recovering positions.”