Pierre Gasly said that he was happy to make it into Qualifying 3 for the first time in his Red Bull Racing Formula 1 career at the Chinese Grand Prix, but understands that more is needed from him.
Gasly qualified one spot behind team-mate Max Verstappen in sixth place at the Shanghai International Circuit, but stood 0.841 seconds off the pace of the sister Red Bull.
The Frenchman set his best time in Qualifying 2 on soft tyres, yet still could not get within half-a-second of Verstappen who opted for the the reportedly more race-suitable medium compound.
Gasly said that he is continuing to find the RB15 “difficult” to drive, having struggled in the first two races of the 2019 season in Australia and Bahrain, but believes that sixth was the maximum on offer to him.
“Driving F1 cars is probably the best job in the world, so I cannot really complain about anything,” Gasly joked.
“I think today was pretty good, it was still difficult to drive the car and I’m still not 100% happy with my driving, but sixth was probably the best we could expect today.
“I have some areas to improve but I had a better feeling with the car than last weekend.
“We now know what we need to improve on and I know what I can do on my side.”
Gasly acknowledged that the degradation of the soft compound tyres (the C4s) could be an issue against his rivals, but said that “anything can happen” in the Chinese race, citing former Red Bull man Daniel Ricciardo‘s dramatic win at this race in 2018.
“I had a different strategy than the top five with the soft tyres today, so let’s see how that works tomorrow,” Gasly added.
“For sure we know the degradation on the softs can be a bit tricky.
“We saw [what happened] last year with Daniel [in the race] and again in qualifying today when it was hectic on the last run.
“Max was fast all weekend so now we both need to focus on the race. We will push flat out and I really hope we can get some good points.
“I think we’re in a good place to start the race and I’m excited for tomorrow.”