Pierre Gasly will start the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix from fifth on the grid on Sunday, and he feels getting into the top five in Qualifying for Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda’s home Grand Prix is a great result.
The Frenchman, who was also quick when Formula 1 raced at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari in 2020, was pleased to be able to make it through to the top ten shootout on Saturday afternoon and then put in a clean lap that was good enough for a place on the third row.
The gap to the front of the field was tight, with Gasly’s best lap just 0.379 seconds off Lewis Hamilton’s pole position time, and he was just 0.050 seconds off a place on the second row. He feels the position gives him confidence heading into race day at Imola.
“I must say it was very good today, I’m really happy – the whole of Qualifying was a bit harder than in Bahrain, as I think quite a lot of teams have really upped the pace,” said Gasly.
“I’m pleased I managed to put everything together in Q3 – it was an extremely clean lap – and to get the P5 at our home race here in Imola is a great result for the whole team. The gaps are extremely close – I think we’re just a couple of hundredths off Charles [Leclerc] and just three or four tenths from the top guys – so it’s a great achievement today and we’re in a good position for tomorrow.
“We’ve got to prepare for every situation in the race – we could have some rain tomorrow, or maybe some drama up the front, so we’ve got to be ready to capitalise on every opportunity we can.”
“The crash today in Qualifying was my mistake” – Yuki Tsunoda
Whereas Gasly was celebrating a top five placing, team-mate Yuki Tsunoda was apologising to his team after crashing out of Qualifying without setting a lap time. The damage is likely going to see the Japanese racer start from the pit lane.
Tsunoda lost control of this car at the chicane towards the end of the lap and hit the barriers with the rear of the AT-02, causing extensive damage to it and causing a red flag across the circuit.
The Japanese driver took full responsibility for the incident, but he knows he will need to put it to the back of his mind and get back into the car on Sunday and fight from the back of the field.
“The crash today in Qualifying was my mistake and I want to apologise to the team – I was pushing too hard into the entry of the chicane and just couldn’t control the car after that,” said Tsunoda.
“It’s a shame because up until that corner the car felt really good and it was a strong lap – I think we could’ve gotten through to Q2 on just one compound.
“I believe there’s the potential for rain at the start of tomorrow’s race, so anything can happen, and I’ll try to push as hard as I can to make my way forward from the back. The car looks really good, so I’ll just reset my mind tonight and jump back in the car tomorrow to go racing.”