Pierre Gasly: “It was a long, difficult day and I’m disappointed”

by Paul Hensby

Pierre Gasly admitted it was a long and difficult French Grand Prix after initially finishing outside the points in eleventh, although Daniel Ricciardo’s two time penalties promoted him to the final point in tenth.

The Red Bull Racing driver made good use of the soft Pirelli tyre early on that only two other drivers used throughout the race, holding onto eighth place, but once on the hard compound he struggled for performance and was unable to maintain his position inside the top ten, dropping behind both of the Renault F1 Team racers, Ricciardo and Nico Hülkenberg, as well as Alfa Romeo Racing’s Kimi Räikkönen.

Gasly admitted he was struggling with the grip levels at the Circuit Paul Ricard, with the result made more disappointing being his home Grand Prix, but he says everything will be analysed so he can put together a stronger performance in the upcoming races.

“It was a long, difficult day and I’m disappointed, especially being here in France,” said Gasly.  “From qualifying, I have struggled for grip and it was the same in the race.

“At the moment I don’t have the answer but I’m sure we will analyse everything to understand exactly why we lacked pace. I tried to do everything I could inside the cockpit but I could not push the car as I was sliding a lot.

“I have never really felt the car like this and with Austria next, we will have to quickly work hard with the guys to come back and put everything together for the next race. Honda are pushing hard and for sure they are developing so this is a positive.”

Christian Horner admitted it was frustrating to see Gasly slip outside the points, particularly after such a good first stint and an excellent pit stop by the mechanics.  The Red Bull team principal says everything will be checked to see why the Frenchman was as far off the pace as he was, particularly as team-mate Max Verstappen was a comfortable fourth throughout the race.

“His first stint on the soft tyre was pretty good and he held P8 with relative ease, managing to go longer than anyone expected,” said Horner.  “The mechanics completed an incredibly fast pit stop which got him back out ahead of Daniel who was trying to get the undercut.

“Unfortunately, on the hard tyre Pierre just didn’t have any pace and slipped down the order. Finishing P11 is frustrating as we are outside the points, so we will check everything on his car to ensure there are no hidden issues.”

Horner was pleased with the result on the other side of the garage as Verstappen was able to put himself in between the two Scuderia Ferrari drivers, and although he was unable to make it to the podium, he took his fifth fourth position of 2019 in just eight races.

“It was a good drive by Max again and splitting the Ferraris was the maximum we could do today,” said Horner.  “With the heat, the tyres were always going to make for a bit of a marginal one stop race, so Max managed the situation very well to come home in P4, his fifth fourth position of the year.”

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