Pierre Gasly reckons the Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda team can be happy with their performance during Qualifying for the British Grand Prix on Saturday, even though he missed out on advancing into the top ten shootout by the narrowest of margins.
Gasly missed out on Q3 despite setting a time identical to that set by BWT Racing Point Formula One Team’s Lance Stroll, but because the Canadian set the time first, he advanced into Q3 in tenth while the Frenchman was resigned to eleventh.
With a free choice of starting tyre, Gasly believes he can push himself into the battle for the points at Silverstone, particularly as the AT01 feels stronger this weekend than it has done in the first three races of 2020.
“I’m happy with my Qualifying today!” said Gasly. “We had the pace for Q3 again and matching the lap time of Racing Point, which is at the moment one of the top cars on the grid, is really positive and it means we did a pretty good job on our side.
“Starting the race from P11 tomorrow gives us a free tyre choice and I think we have the chance for a good result in the race. We made progress since the start of the weekend so hopefully, we can finish within the top 10 tomorrow and bring home some points.”
Daniil Kvyat ‘Satisfied’ with Qualifying Performance
Team-mate Daniil Kvyat went into the session knowing he would be dropping five places on the grid after an enforced change of gearbox earlier in the weekend, and he ended up 0.243 seconds behind Gasly in fourteenth.
Despite this, he felt ‘satisfied’ with his performance during the Qualifying session, with the Russian feeling much more confident in the AT01 on Saturday than he had on Friday, particularly around some of the corners that were proving trickier earlier in the weekend.
As it stands, Kvyat looks set to start down in nineteenth on the grid, but he does not feel points are out of reach on Sunday.
“My lap was really good and I’m quite satisfied with it,” admitted Kvyat. “We changed a few things and I felt more comfortable in the car today, I had more confidence going through certain corners, which felt great, and the only place where I was losing a bit of time compared to Pierre was the straight line.
“I’m starting five positions further back due to my penalty, so I know it won’t be easy tomorrow, but I generally feel strong during the race. I will push as hard as I can, as scoring points still remains my goal.”
AlphaTauri have ‘Improved Package’ at Silverstone – Jody Egginton
Jody Egginton, the Technical Director of AlphaTauri, believes the upgrades brought to Silverstone this weekend appear to be aiding the performance of the AT01, and it was pleasing to get so close to Q3 on Saturday afternoon.
The team also gambled on a new set-up direction this weekend and this has seen improvements in their performance compared to the opening three races of the year.
“What we learned yesterday and today in FP3 suggests that the new parts we have introduced at this event, combined with the new set-up direction investigated during Friday, have combined into an improved package here in Silverstone which both drivers are managing to exploit, and this is positive,” said Egginton.
“However, the midfield is very competitive, so we need to continue on this trajectory.”
Looking over at the Qualifying session, Egginton felt the red flag during Q2, caused when Lewis Hamilton spun and covered the track in gravel, left them with only one opportunity to set a lap time.
Never-the-less, he was pleased with the result, although it was slightly disappointing not to see at least one car advance into Q3.
“Q1 itself was as expected, we navigated the session without incident whilst Q2 was interrupted by a red flag when both cars were out for their first run,” said Egginton. “As such, there was only the opportunity for a single run at the end of the session, which wasn’t ideal.
“Pierre set an identical time to Stroll on his final run but later in the session, so he qualified P11 and not P10, whilst Dany qualified 14th, but unfortunately has a 5-place grid penalty due to a gearbox change.
“Although in some respects it’s disappointing not to make it to Q3, having one car in 11th position provides some extra strategy options, so we should feature in the midfield fight from lights out. As for Dany, we are probably going to have to be more creative to try and get him into the same position.”