Pierre Gasly was content after an impressive Friday at the Losail International Circuit, with the Frenchman ending second quickest in both free practice sessions.
The Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda driver was second only to Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen in the morning session, and he replicated his position in the afternoon, ending this time just behind Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team’s Valtteri Bottas.
Although he expects Red Bull and Mercedes to be the teams to beat in Qualifying on Saturday, Gasly hopes to be in the battle for best of the rest, and in particularly he wants to be ahead of the McLaren F1 Team and Scuderia Ferrari drivers when it matters.
“It’s been a very good Friday, the best of the season so far I’d say,” said Gasly. “Inside of the car it doesn’t feel that easy, but the lap times are looking really good. I think in terms of balance we can do even better for tomorrow, so we’ll try and work on that tonight.
“Our target is of course to be as far up the grid as possible but we’re obviously realistic, we’re looking very competitive at the moment, so we’ll hope to be up there with McLaren and Ferrari again in Quali.”
“We’ve just got to put it all together when it counts” – Yuki Tsunoda
Team-mate Yuki Tsunoda also showed good pace throughout Friday’s running, with the Japanese racer ending fifth in the morning and seventh in the afternoon.
Unlike most other circuits on the calendar, Tsunoda is in the majority this weekend of drivers who have not previously raced at the Losail International Circuit, so he was able to learn alongside everyone else in free practice.
Tsunoda feels the pace on the soft Pirelli tyre is still not as strong as he would like, so he hopes AlphaTauri can find some more speed on the softest tyre available this weekend ahead of Qualifying on Saturday.
“It was good out there today, with the car looking quite strong so far,” said Tsunoda. “We tried some different set-ups to gather important data for Quali and the race, which is really important, as we’re at a new circuit.
“The car performed well on the Mediums but I struggled a bit more on the soft tyre, so we have some work to do tonight to try and improve in this area. Overall, I think it’s been a good day, we’ve just got to put it all together when it counts.
“Overtaking looks like it’ll be quite difficult here, so it’s going to be important to get a good starting position for the race, then we can be in a good place to score points on Sunday.”