Pierre Gasly says the Circuit Zandvoort is ‘an amazing track to drive on’ after the Frenchman got his first taste of the new layout on Friday.
The Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda driver admitted it was difficult to get into a real rhythm during the two practice sessions due to the many disruptions and red flags, but Gasly was able to get through the whole of his planned programme as he ended the day inside the top ten.
Gasly says it will be important to get the most out of Qualifying on Saturday afternoon as overtaking is likely to be difficult, and he says the team will be looking to improve the feeling of his AT-02 ahead of final practice.
“I must say it was really fun today, it’s an amazing track to drive on and very unique, especially turn 3 – it’s like sliding in a toboggan, with the banking,” said Gasly. “Obviously, the sessions were interrupted quite a lot with the red flags, so it was difficult to make it through our whole programme, but we still managed to complete a lot of it.
“I think we’re not looking as good as we would’ve liked but hopefully, we can work tonight to find a bit more performance for tomorrow. I’m confident we can do that.
“I think traffic in Q1 tomorrow could be an issue and I need to try to avoid this mess. Then I think looking towards the race it will be very difficult to overtake, so the priority is getting a good starting position.”
“Hopefully I can put it altogether when it counts tomorrow” – Yuki Tsunoda
Team-mate Yuki Tsunoda did not have the best of days, with an early spin and a minor issue with his engine leaving him bottom of the timing screens in the morning session.
The Japanese racer was able to get back on track in the afternoon and complete thirty-one laps, with Tsunoda ending thirteenth fastest overall, albeit six-tenths of a second behind Gasly in seventh.
Tsunoda admits he is on the back foot heading into the rest of the weekend and there is a lot of work to do if he is to be a contender for Q3 in Qualifying on Saturday afternoon.
“In the morning we were testing some aero components, but we had a minor PU issue that we had to investigate and weren’t able to go back out,” said Tsunoda. “For the rest of the session, I watched a lot of on-board videos from other cars and tried to learn as much as possible before the afternoon.
“In FP2 I completed my first push-lap, I tried to take it easy at first as there’s not a lot of run-off areas on this track. At the end I managed a lap I was quite happy with, I obviously need to do a lot more work tonight, but I felt quite confident in the car and it was important for the team to get this data, so we can prepare for Qualifying tomorrow.
“I think Quali will be really important, as it seems that it’ll be difficult to overtake here during the race, so hopefully I can put it altogether when it counts tomorrow.”