Gasly gets first podium with Alpine in F1 Dutch GP: “The car works a bit better in the wet”

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Photo Credit: BWT Alpine F1 Team

It’s been a tumultuous time in the Alpine camp of late, the Enstone based outfit seeing the departure of senior staff such as team boss Otmar Szafnauer, Chief Technical Officer Pat Fry leaving for Williams and also thirty-four year veteran Alan Permane their former Sporting Director severing ties with the team after his dissatisfaction with the direction the team was going in.

However some redemption came today after a strong performance from Pierre Gasly saw him take third place following the application of a five second penalty to Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, perhaps signalling somewhat of an upward trend in performance after Gasly’s podium in the Sprint race in Belgium prior to the summer break.

The Frenchman started the race in 12th before pitting for intermediate tyres at the end of the opening lap, one of the few drivers to react so quickly with the arrival of a heavy downpour which saw him leapfrog several cars and eventually having strong pace on the drying track at the very end of the race keeping the likes of Sainz at bay and being able to stay close enough to Perez to inherit P3 once the penalty was applied to take his first podium for Alpine, much to the delight of the trackside mechanics.

Speaking in the post-race press conference he reflected on the result being one of the best outings for the team which has had more than its share of “unfortunate situations” in 2023:

“It was extremely tricky today….All the conditions were pretty much thrown at us from the start we ended up on slicks in the dry and damp conditions and then the inters on a wet then drying track so it was all about adapting yourself to the conditions….

“It was very exciting to be fighting for these positions. There were important calls to make. The whole team had a very strong race. I’m pleased because we haven’t been very fortunate since the start of the year. We have been involved with unfortunate situations on many occasions which cost us some points.”

The 27-year-old driver explained that taking the early stop for inters was key to his success at the Dutch seaside circuit:

“We knew we were starting outside the points and there was rain coming…Out of the last corner I saw the rain, I could see the intensity, I saw the opportunity so I called it straight away I wanted to box and take the benefit of the slightly dryer track to warm up the tyres on that first lap and it really worked out well.

Asked about being able to stay within five seconds of Perez’s RB19, he gave a wry smile before delivering his answer:

“Never easy to stay within five seconds of the Red Bull that’s for sure but I saw the opportunity. So, it was yeah, pretty much a couple of qualifying laps at the end, which were really rewarding and I can feel what he was feeling: I went through it a couple laps before with these five seconds penalties. So yeah, I just tried to get everything I could.”

Gasly thinks this result is just what the team needs after events of late and inspires confidence ahead of the Italian Grand Prix – where he achieved his first Grand Prix victory:

“I think it does give some confidence. I think it’s definitely coming more together with a team. It’s obviously this sort-of adaptation part, since the start of the year, trying to learn from each-other. Last weekend in Spa we had a good top-three finish in the Sprint in Intermediate conditions, like in the wet. Again today, we managed to make the best out of these conditions. There is a clear trend that the car seems to work a bit better in the wet. Now we’ve got to improve and keep working because we’re still slightly further back in the dry. But there were definitely some good signs of pace today and we need to go from there.”

With the current forecast for next weekend’s race in Monza showing a chance of rain, maybe Gasly fancies his chances of capitalising on the strength of his A523 in the wet.

Photo Credit: BWT Alpine F1 Team