Gasly: Alpine “underachieved compared to the pace we had” in Spain

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Photo credit: BWT Alpine F1 Team

Alpine’s Spanish Grand Prix result was somewhat of a disappointment. However, there were factors that reduced the Enstone-based team’s chances of a great result.

Qualifying in P4 by Pierre Gasly on Saturday at Circuit de Catalunya shows a continuation of the great speed shown by the team in Monaco. However, Gasly received two three-place grid penalties for impeding Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz in Q1 after qualifying.

This left the Frenchman right in the middle of the midfield battle at the start in Spain, with the run to the first braking zone being among the longest of the season in Barcelona. He said he had to take avoiding action against Perez and go on the gravel in the process, which dropped him even further back in the pack – but in free air, he felt his Alpine was at least as fast as the Aston Martin duo that finished sixth and seventh on the day.

“Starting from fourth would have been a very different race, instead I was 10th,” Gasly told reporters after the race.

“It was just quite unlucky through [Turns] 1 and 2, we were three wide in Turn 2 and I had to open in the gravel not to have contact with Sergio [and] lost four positions. So from qualifying fourth, I ended up P14 on the first lap, which changed the whole race massively.”

However he was able to recover from there to claim the final point for 10th place because of Tsunoda’s penalty. That left Gasly confident the team will “be fighting for top five pretty soon” if they have the same pace at all types of track.

“We definitely made a step forward,” said Gasly, who now sits tenth in the championship.

“We need to fight to get that consistency and show we’re able to maintain that pace regardless of the tracks we’re going to. But I think we did it in quali and today there were clear signs that the pace was there.

“The pace when we were alone was good, but spending all your time in a DRS train, traffic and overheating the tyres, you can’t really maximise the package.”

Gasly now hopes to minimise mistakes over a full race weekend and will hope to re-energise his championship campaign at the next round at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Canada.

“Monaco was strong, Barcelona was strong in qualifying and again in the race there was a very good sign of performance when we’re in free air,” Gasly added.

“So I think the package is there, we just need to make sure we start at the front, be more careful with any mistakes which can penalise us and I’m sure there is performance to clearly go and find the top six next time.”

Gasly has also boldly predicted that their new found pace could be a challenge for Aston Martin, who are arguably still the second fastest team.

“It feels like an underachieved result compared to the pace we had. I believe we had the pace for Aston today.”

If this new predicted pace of the Aston Martin’s is to be true, it will certainly make for some close battles in the races ahead.