Pierre Gasly continued to show his good pace and form during Qualifying for the French Grand Prix on Saturday as he took an encouraging sixth on the grid.
Fresh off the back of his podium finish in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix two weeks ago, the Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda driver was strong in Qualifying at the Circuit Paul Ricard to put his AT-02 on the third row of the grid.
And Gasly was doing this despite not having felt as comfortable in the car as he would have liked, with the Frenchman having made multiple set-up changes across the weekend before it all came good when it mattered on Saturday afternoon.
“It’s a very good day and I’m really pleased to Qualify in sixth position,” said Gasly. “It’s been quite a difficult weekend up to this point, I haven’t felt that comfortable in the car and we’ve struggled a bit with the changing conditions.
“We’d made lots of set-up changes to the car across the weekend and it all came together for Qualifying. After the disappointment of finding out my lap was cancelled, I knew I had just one shot to get it right in Q3.
“My adrenalin levels were high, and I managed to put an even better lap together, so I’m very happy with that.”
Gasly says strategy will be key on Sunday, and he will be giving it everything to bring home another strong result for AlphaTauri.
“Tomorrow will be interesting for us as we return to a normal race circuit, we’re starting on the same tyres as everyone else, so strategy will be key,” said Gasly. “We’ll give everything we have and hopefully we can get some good points here, in front of my home crowd.”
“The best way to thank the team would be to have a good race tomorrow” – Yuki Tsunoda
Whereas Gasly was fighting for a place on row three, team-mate Yuki Tsunoda will start right at the back of the grid after crashing out before setting a lap time in Q1.
The Japanese racer lost control after hitting the inside kerbs at turn one, with the back of his AT02 hitting the barrier and ending his day. He apologised to the team for his latest misdemeanour, but he knows there is a lot of work to do on Sunday if he is to be a contender for points.
“It was my mistake today in Qualifying and I want to apologise to the team,” said Tsunoda. “I just used too much of the yellow curb at turn one and I spun out.
“I tried to brake as much as possible to avoid contact with the barrier, but it was like skating on ice as I was going backwards. It was fairly low impact, but there is some damage to the car so the team will have to work hard tonight to get me ready for tomorrow.
“The best way to thank the team would be to have a good race tomorrow. It’s difficult to overtake here but I’ll push as hard as I can every lap and use every opportunity I get.”