Pierre Gasly was pleased with another top six grid slot on Saturday, particularly after the Frenchman has not felt as comfortable behind the wheel of the AT-02 as in previous races at the Red Bull Ring.
The Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda driver says the consistency the team has shown in recent races is very much a positive, with Gasly now having taken sixth on the grid in four of the past five races.
Gasly, who retired on lap one of the Styrian Grand Prix last weekend after contact with Charles Leclerc, is hoping for better luck this Sunday, and he knows strategy will be key, particularly with the one-time race winner starting on the soft compound tyre.
“It feels like every weekend we’re Qualifying in a similar position and I’m really happy with that, sixth is another strong performance for us, so today is a good day,” said Gasly.
“I haven’t been as comfortable in the car this weekend for some reason, so going into Quali we had a bit of an unknown, which is why I’m really pleased we managed to make it work this afternoon.
“We’re the first cars starting on Softs tomorrow, so strategy will definitely be key in the race. We’ve shown that the car has the pace though, so I’m feeling confident.”
“Tyre management will be crucial to scoring points” – Yuki Tsunoda
Team-mate Yuki Tsunoda also enjoyed Qualifying at the Red Bull Ring on Saturday, with the Japanese racer finishing just behind Gasly in seventh position.
Tsunoda, a rookie in Formula 1 in 2021 after stepping up from FIA Formula 2, says the experience of last weekend’s Styrian Grand Prix at the same circuit has benefitted him this weekend, as he came in with some idea of what he needed to improve on.
Like Gasly, Tsunoda is aiming for points on Sunday, and he knows tyre management and staying out of trouble will be key for this to happen.
“I’m really happy with today’s performance, it’s my best Qualifying so far,” said Tsunoda. “I want to say a big thank you to the team, who have maintained the pace from last week and managed to put it all together when it counted the most.
“My final lap was pretty good, even though I didn’t get a slip stream, so I’ve got to be pleased with that. It’s been really helpful for my learning to be here in Austria for two races in a row, it’s allowed me to build up my confidence and I think that shows in my performance today.
“Tomorrow is key, I don’t know what the conditions will be like during the race, but tyre management will be crucial to scoring points, which is what I’m aiming for.”