Pierre Gasly says Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda could fight for a place inside the top ten during Qualifying for the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix on Saturday providing that they can improve their performance level after a tough Friday at Silverstone.
The Frenchman was a strong performer during last weekend’s British Grand Prix, starting eleventh but fighting to finish an excellent seventh, but a change in tyre compounds has seen him struggle in comparison on Friday, ending outside the top ten in both practice sessions.
“Today I didn’t feel as good in the car as last weekend, so we’ve done many tests between FP1 and FP2,” said Gasly. “We wanted to try different set-up directions to improve the car, but I didn’t feel like we’ve found the best set-up yet.
“I was pretty happy straight away last weekend, so we’ll need to analyse everything tonight and work from there. The gaps are really small but if we want to have a chance for Q3, I think we’ll need to find a bit more performance for tomorrow.”
Team-mate Daniil Kvyat got the better of Gasly in both sessions, with the Russian ending ninth fastest in the morning session and twelfth in the afternoon. His best lap was 0.126 seconds better than the Frenchman and 1.396 seconds off the best time of the day set by Lewis Hamilton.
Kvyat says there will be discussions overnight and into Saturday to determine the best strategy options for Sunday’s race, with the softest tyre proving to have a short shelf life compared to the medium and hard compounds.
“It was a decent Friday and we did quite a lot of productive laps today,” said Kvyat. “The C4 wasn’t a big surprise, we will continue to make our tyre evaluation to understand what they like or dislike, and as usual, we will analyse all the data to come back tomorrow in the best possible shape for both qualifying and the race.”
“The tyres this weekend are going to be one of the biggest topics” – Jonathan Eddolls
Jonathan Eddolls, the Chief Race Engineer at AlphaTauri, says staying at the same circuit for a second consecutive weekend aided the team as they were able to hit the track early with a good baseline set-up.
Despite being amid the midfield runners once more, Eddolls was happy with the days running and the data gathered by the team, and he hopes they can build on their performance into Saturday and fight for a position inside the top ten in Qualifying.
“We came to Silverstone for the second weekend in a row, which meant we could continue the set-up work that we started here at the last event, with the advantage that we know we have a good baseline to roll back on,” said Eddolls.
“We were able to be a bit braver with some of our set-up changes and we could push the envelope of the car a little bit more than you would on a normal Friday when you first hit the track for only one weekend, so we brought some new ideas on how to maximize the performance of the car that we’ve got.
“The cars started the day exploring different directions and the performance we showed in FP1 was promising, so we could build on that for FP2 and make some further changes.”
Eddolls says the tyres that Pirelli Motorsport have brought to Silverstone are one of the bigger talking points for this weekend, with the red-banded soft tyre in particular ‘quite aggressive’ for this circuit and it could mean that the medium tyre is the tyre of choice for Qualifying.
“The tyres this weekend are going to be one of the biggest topics: the C4 is quite aggressive, and there does not seem to be a big lap time difference between the C3 and the C4 for qualifying,” said Eddolls. “You could see from FP2 that there were a range of tyre strategies across the grid, with some using the base tyre and others only the options, I think that’s going to make tomorrow very interesting.
“Now we have to look through all the data we gathered today to find the best tyre strategy and car set-up going into qualifying tomorrow and the race on Sunday.”