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Formula 1 Saudi Arabian GP

Gasly: Alpine F1 'more confident' for showing it could "annoy" Mercedes

Alpine had the pace to "annoy" Mercedes in the Formula 1 season opener in Bahrain according to Pierre Gasly, which has given the team "more confidence" in its potential.

Pierre Gasly, Alpine

The French manufacturer endured a frustrating start to the campaign, with Gasly starting at the back of the grid on his team debut after switching from AlphaTauri and team-mate Esteban Ocon having his race derailed by a spate of penalties.

Although Gasly managed to rescue points from the weekend as he recovered to finish ninth, the potential of his Alpine squad is still not especially clear amid an ultra close midfield fight.

But having analysed the team’s performance at Sakhir, Gasly reckons that Alpine had a car that could put some pressure on Mercedes – which bodes well for the season ahead.

Asked if he felt he could have battled Mercedes if he had started further up the order, Gasly said: “I do think that we could have been in that fight with George [Russell].

“It's always difficult to re-do a race and [a better qualifying] would have meant that potentially we didn't have a new soft tyre to start the race.

“So there are a lot of things which would change the outcome, but I'm quite confident that there would have been the pace to annoy them.”

While Alpine may have been disappointed with the outcome of the Bahrain GP, Gasly reckons there was enough promise from the pace to feel upbeat about what it can achieve with the A523 – despite getting its qualifying wrong.

“I think generally qualifying was a bit of a one-off, and just getting a bit too extreme,” he said.

Pierre Gasly, Alpine

Pierre Gasly, Alpine

Photo by: Alpine

“But we’ve more confidence with what we've shown in practice and in the race, and quite confident with our race pace. And from what we've seen on Sunday, we’ve got potential, we showed some good speed.

“We are there in the mix. Obviously [we] want more and want to fight for bigger points, but we know that if we start in a decent position, I think we could be in the fight.

“So definitely there are some positives on Sunday. I feel like in our qualifying trim there's probably more to understand and how to extract a bit more from the package that we've got.

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“But we’ve been driving only on Bahrain, and it is a very different track. Melbourne is going to be a very different track.

“So, it's going to be quite interesting over the next few weekends to see where everybody stands because I don't think it's so clear as well, where we are.”

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