Pierre Gasly believes Friday’s second free practice session at the Circuit of the Americas was perhaps his toughest FP2 of the season, with the Frenchman struggling to break into the top ten.
The Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda driver was an encouraging sixth fastest in the morning session as the United States Grand Prix weekend got underway, but he struggled to twelfth in the afternoons running, with the AT-02 not feeling as competitive as it has done at other venues in 2021.
As a result, Gasly says the team has a lot of work to do overnight to turn around their fortunes, with the Frenchman aiming for yet another top ten start in what has been a quietly impressive campaign.
“It’s been quite a difficult afternoon for us, the car just didn’t seem to click at all, so we’ve got a lot of work to do ahead of tomorrow,” said Gasly.
“I think this is the toughest FP2 we’ve had this season, it’s very strange as up until now we’ve been competitive everywhere, but it’s been very difficult here in Austin today.
“We’ll work hard tonight, I’m sure we definitely have more pace to find, and I’m confident we can be more competitive come Qualifying.”
“There are lots of things for us to work on tonight” – Yuki Tsunoda
For team-mate Yuki Tsunoda, Friday was a day of learning the Circuit of the Americas track, with the Japanese racer never having previously driven there during his career.
Tsunoda admitted he enjoyed his first day of running, even if he was unable to match the kind of pace Gasly showed in the other AT-02, with the Japanese ace ending eighteenth in the morning and sixteenth in the afternoon.
However, he believes that he can have a good rest of the weekend at the Austin track, and he will be looking to avoid losing times to track limits at turn nineteen, with many of his lap times being deleted on Friday as he ran off the track in both sessions.
“It was a really enjoyable first day running here in Austin, this is obviously another new track for me but I think I’ve found a good approach quite quickly and it’s been fun to drive,” said Tsunoda.
“However, there are lots of things for us to work on tonight, as the pace of the car so far isn’t quite there, and I’ve also struggled with track limits at Turn 19.
“We’ll analyse all the data and I believe we can be back to our strong performance again tomorrow.”