“That’s what we need until the end of the year” — Gasly hopes “good teamwork” continues at Alpine following double points finish at F1 Canadian GP

Photo Credit: BWT Alpine F1 Team
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For a second consecutive weekend, Pierre Gasly scored points as he finished 9th in the Canadian Grand Prix last Sunday.

The 28-year-old made it through to Q2 on Saturday, but that solid effort was undone at the start as Sergio Perez hit him at turn 2, almost spinning. He fell to P18. However, he did not give up.

The Frenchman was the first driver to switch to dries and it paid off, eventually. He overtook Magnussen, Bottas and Hülkenberg to move up three spots into 14th.

A crash by Sergio Perez, a collision between Sainz and Albon, and a spin from Yuki Tsunoda moved Gasly up to P10.

Team orders saw him gain another spot and he finished 9th, with Alpine deciding not to give Esteban Ocon the position back.

Ocon was asked on lap 67 to give Gasly the place so he could try and catch Daniel Ricciardo. It did not happen until the penultimate lap, though. The Australian had cleared DRS by then.

Gasly talked through his race afterwards, emphasising he had no problems with Ocon.

“First of all, I think the main news should be that we scored points with both cars, and looking at all the simulations this morning, none of them looked that it would be achievable. So definitely a very positive day for the team.

“The target was quite clear at the end. I was faster on the hard tyre towards the end of the race, and I was right behind Daniel.

“And as soon as Daniel overtook Esteban, the goal was for the other car to let me pass and for the last four laps to try to overtake Daniel with the DRS.

“So it took slightly more time than we would have liked, but honestly, it’s no big deal.

“What’s tricky is, these two laps is just enough for Daniel to break the DRS, and then when you do it two laps at the end, it’s too far away.

“But then, if it would have been done slightly earlier, potentially I’m in the DRS and you get slightly more chances. But honestly, it’s no big deal.

“I still think we did a great teamwork today, we tried different stuff, he stayed out on the inter, I boxed. I put the hard tyres, we got some good data.

“I think it was a very good day for the whole team, and to come out with these three points could be very valuable at the end of the year.”

The contact with Perez at the start left Gasly feeling like his day would be over. But it wasn’t.

After what happened at turn 2 on the first lap, Gasly wanted to be aggressive as he was well down the field, becoming the first driver to switch to slicks.

“I definitely thought that this could be it, and on a day like today, you just want to see the chequered flag. I haven’t really seen what’s happened. The visibility, it was extremely poor.

“Yeah, all I felt is suddenly, I was sideways and I lost all the positions. We were almost last by that time.

“And that’s why after I had to, when I made the call to go on hards, I knew that it was touch and go. And when I came out of the pits, it was very, very tough to stay on track.”

The 2020 Italian Grand Prix victor explained just how sketchy it was on his out lap, adding he had a lot of fun racing after following Albon in Monaco.

“I could not even turn [at T2]. I could not even turn, I was full lock. And the car just like even in first gear, just not turning. But then I was trying to get to the dry bit to get some grip.

“And I think looking back it was a lap too early, but I knew I had to try it because if I wanted to have a potential gain, then it was definitely worth the risk.

“And then after that I actually managed to overtake a lot of cars, I built up some temperature and managed to get by quite a lot of guys.

“It was quite pleasant compared to last week where you’ve seen the same rear wing for the entire race, at least this weekend it felt like there was quite a lot of action and it was quite enjoyable.”

With the whole track only becoming dry right at the end, the true race pace of each car only became obvious then.

Gasly says experimenting with different lines before that point was critical to be very quick, and it made him feel like it was a karting race.

“I think there was a lot, like, in putting the wheels in the right place and sometimes you could see that they were a different approach, and it was very fun because it felt like karting days where your line is not the ideal line, sometimes you’re all over the kerb, but then if it means your outside tyre [is] on the dry bit, you get extra grip.

“It was very fun, like as the track was drying, just trying to figure out where the best grip is and I think we did well in these conditions. I think the pace was looking pretty strong.

“In the last few laps the sort of normal pace, […] everything got closer to the normal order of qualifying, but it was quite enjoyable conditions.”

Alpine’s three points bagged in Canada has moved them ahead of Williams into P8 in the Constructors’ Championship. Despite being outpaced by Haas throughout the season so far, they’re only two behind the American-owned team now.

Following on from the controversy in Monaco, and the announcement that Esteban Ocon would be leaving at the end of 2024, Gasly hopes that everyone working as one in Canada continues at Alpine until the end of the season.

“Yeah, at the end of the day, I think it was good teamwork and that’s what we need until the end of the year because we know Williams seems to have a competitive car.

“Looking at the qualifying yesterday, it was quite impressive [their pace], Haas seems to have some good pace at times.

“And we know on days like today, we’ve got to make the best out of what we have, we can’t afford to do any mistakes and we can’t afford to take any unnecessary risks, so it was well managed and hopefully we can continue like that until the end of the year.”