Pierre Gasly says there were plenty of positives to take away from the Italian Grand Prix despite Scuderia Toro Rosso failing to score any points at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza.
Ahead of this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix, Gasly says the race pace shown at Monza was strong, and it was only a run through the gravel trap, courtesy of a wayward Lance Stroll re-joining the track in his path, that prevented a top ten result in Italy.
Gasly had started the race towards the back of the field thanks to a change of Honda power unit, but the spec-four that he used was an improvement on its predecessor, and the Frenchman hopes it can translate into a strong result this weekend at the Marina Bay Street Circuit.
“Despite the fact the final result was not what we wanted, overall the Monza weekend had some positives we could take away with us,” said Gasly. “We were strong on Friday and so it’s fair to say our performance level was maybe better than expected and we had a good race pace on Sunday.
“We were happy about that and so we can go to Singapore in a positive frame of mind, even though it’s a completely different racetrack to the last two we have raced on. We are returning to a maximum downforce configuration on the car, for a street circuit that has more in common with Monaco, but with a few more straight bits.”
Gasly believes Singapore is the most difficult race of the season due to the heat and humidity, but at the same time it is an exciting event held under the Marina Bay lights. He has been working hard to prepare for the event, which will culminate in an almost two-hour race on Sunday evening.
“The two topics everyone talks about in Singapore are the heat and the fact it’s a night race,” added Gasly. “It definitely makes it exciting as the conditions are much tougher.
“We have tailored my training in these weeks to prepare by working in much hotter conditions, wearing layers of T-shirts and sweatshirts to get the body used to sweating. I’ve also spent a lot of time in the sauna which is a dry heat, and a hammam which is humid with steam, so the body adapts to the heat. That way, you are as ready as possible when you get there, which is vital as it is also the longest and the toughest race of the year.
“The lap runs at a very high pace with loads of corners, so you don’t pause for breath. But I like that. I love very technical, twisty tracks where you have to get into a rhythm. The race involves staying focussed for two hours in extreme conditions. Maybe it’s the most difficult race of the season, but it’s also the most exciting.”
Singapore represents Gasly’s third race back with Toro Rosso since his demotion from Red Bull Racing and he already feels comfortable with the STR14 and hopes for more positive steps forward this weekend.
“Toro Rosso has had some good results there, even if I recall that last year I had a complicated weekend,” said the Frenchman. “It will be my third race this year with the team and already in Monza, I felt more comfortable with the car and we have made a step forward in how I work with the engineers.”