Pierre Gasly praised his Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda team for giving him a great car during Saturday’s Qualifying session for the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone, with the Frenchman set to start seventh on the grid for Sunday’s race.
Gasly admitted the team were struggling for performance during Friday’s running but they fought back superbly on Saturday, with the former Aston Martin Red Bull Racing driver placing fourth in Q2 on the medium Pirelli tyre before outpacing Red Bull’s Alexander Albon, Scuderia Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and McLaren F1 Team’s Lando Norris to claim seventh.
“That was an amazing Saturday and I’m very happy about my Qualifying result!” exclaimed Gasly. “Yesterday was a bit difficult for us, but the team did a fantastic job from Friday to Saturday and made the right changes overnight to give me a car that gives me the possibility to push to the maximum.
“It was great to be P4 in Q2 and to finish Q3 in P7, ahead of the two Ferraris, McLaren and a Red Bull, it was the best result we could have hoped for.”
The Frenchman finished seventh last weekend despite starting outside the top ten, and he hopes to at least maintain his position inside the points during Sunday’s Grand Prix.
“Now we focus on tomorrow’s race, ready to get our elbows out and try to do the best I can to get a good result for the team,” he enthused.
Gust of Wind Puts Paid to Kvyat’s Qualifying Chances
Whereas Gasly was advancing into the top ten shootout, team-mate Daniil Kvyat did not even make it out of Q1 on Saturday, with the Russian set to start sixteenth as a result of losing a lot of time due to a ‘big snap’ on what looked like a lap that could have got him through to Q2.
Kvyat, who crashed out of the British Grand Prix last weekend following a mechanical issue that caused a sudden puncture at Maggotts bend, is hopeful that he will be able to recover some places on Sunday as he is confident about the race pace of the AT01.
“It was very unfortunate this afternoon as it was turning out to be a very good lap when a gust of wind put me off in Turn 15, it caused me to have a big snap and I lost a lot of time,” said Kvyat.
“Looking at the positives, normally we’re able to make up for a poor qualifying on Sunday, so we just need to keep pushing and I’m quite confident we can put together a decent race and fight for points.”
“We expected to be in the midfield mix” – Jody Egginton
Jody Egginton, the Technical Director at AlphaTauri, said he expected the team to be a part of the midfield battle on Saturday and so it proved, with Gasly excelling to qualify seventh on the grid.
He also believed Kvyat had the potential to qualify much higher up the grid than he ultimately achieved, with the gust of wind causing the snap that ultimately was the difference between advancing to Q2 and being eliminated in Q1.
“With our level of competitiveness here during Friday, broadly in line with expectations, we expected to be in the midfield mix during today’s Qualifying, and this was certainly the case with the car showing good pace today,” said Egginton.
“Unfortunately for Dany, his best lap in Q1 – which was looking good – was compromised with a snap followed by running wide. This is really a shame as he has performed well this weekend and was capable of progressing much further in Qualifying today.
“Pierre managed to close his Q1 lap easily, making the cut for Q2. Q2 passed without any incidents, with Pierre’s second run being near perfect and allowing him to easily progress to the top-ten shootout.
“Q3 was another good session, with Pierre securing a very well deserved seventh on the grid for the team.”
Egginton says the team are ‘very satisfied’ with the performance of the AT01, even though on one side of the garage the result was not as they wanted, but the important day is still to come as they bid to score points with both cars on Sunday.
“We are very satisfied with today’s performance, but of course, tomorrow is what matters and we will now knuckle down to review our race strategy options, targeting to both capitalize on Pierre’s starting position and also get Dany moving forward towards the points, in what we expect will be another very close battle,” concluded Egginton.