Pierre Gasly’s penalty-fill weekend continued after Qualifying for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on Saturday, with the Frenchman excluded from the session for breaching fuel flow regulations, with his RB15 exceeding the maximum of 100kg per hour allowed during Q1.
The Red Bull Racing driver already knew that he would be starting the race from the pit lane following his failure to adhere to the weighbridge regulations on Friday so the penalty does not have any bearing on the rest of the weekend, but he has had his Q1 pace-setting time removed from the books.
Despite the disqualification, Gasly was pleased with his performance and he admitted it was the first time all year that he had felt comfortable and confident in the car, something he hopes bodes well for race day when he has to make the charge through the field.
“It was nice to end Q1 in P1 but knowing we’re starting from the pit lane tomorrow, the most important thing was just to get a feel of the car on low fuel,” said Gasly. “It felt really good and it’s probably the first time this year I’ve felt that good in the car, so I’m really happy.
“I felt confident and I’m always working and trying to adapt myself, and it’s working step by step. I think we’re going in the right direction and overall it was a positive qualifying session. We didn’t expect that kind of pace because we didn’t turn the power unit up, we went into race mode to save some engine mileage and in the end the performance was good.”
Gasly did not participate in Q2 and watched on hoping team-mate Max Verstappen would get a good grid spot for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, but knowing the past history of the race, the Frenchman knows anything can happen, with his aim to break into the points on Sunday despite his pit lane start.
“I think we have a good car here and I was hoping Max would get a good result in Q3,” said Gasly. “This race track is just insane with all the things that can happen so I will race flat out until the last lap.
“We have a car good enough to recover and score good points tomorrow, so I will push for it.”