For only the third time this season Pierre Gasly failed to make it into Qualifying Three, after a catastrophic error by the Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda team at the Russian Grand Prix. Gasly qualified twelfth with Yuki Tsunoda just behind in thirteenth.
Gasly has looked good all weekend and carried his pace from Friday into the very damp Qualifying One at the Sochi Autodrom, where the Frenchman looked quick on the intermediates. However in Qualifying Two the team made the wrong call, by deciding to leave Gasly out on track and not give him fresh intermediates in the closing minutes of the middle session. This meant come the closing stages of Qualifying Two, Gasly had no tyre left to allow him to improve into the top ten.
The Frenchman was very annoyed not to have made it into the top ten and knows a discussion with the team is needed.
“I don’t have too much to say right now, I think we had the pace to easily make it through to Q3, so I’m obviously frustrated. In Q1 I was really fast in these conditions, I felt comfortable in the car and could push straight away. However, for Q2 I stayed out on just one set of tyres, that were completely used by the end of the session.
“I think this was a big mistake from our side, but I will have to speak to the team to understand more about what happened today. It’s a missed opportunity not making it through to Q3, but we now need to look forward to tomorrow and see what we can do to make up lost ground.”
“I felt a but more confident in the car” – Yuki Tsunoda
On the other side of the AlphaTauri garage, Yuki Tsunoda had a much better Saturday afternoon. The rookie not only made it into Qualifying Two in conditions that even the very best find a challenge, he managed to qualify in a respectable thirteenth place for Sunday’s race.
Tsunoda is understandably pleased with how qualifying went and feels more confident now in the car.
“I’m fairly pleased with today, I made it through to Q2 which is a step-up for me, particularly after yesterday. My mechanics worked hard last night to get the car in a better position coming into Qualifying today and I felt a bit more confident in the car. Obviously, the conditions were completely different to yesterday’s sessions, but we’ll hopefully see more improvements tomorrow, in dry conditions.”