Gasly: Alpine “expected” to be knocked out in Q1 in F1 Italian GP qualifying

Pierre Gasly has admitted that Alpine expected its cars to fail to make it out of Q1 in qualifying for the Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix.

Pierre Gasly, Alpine A523

Gasly could not better 17th  place in Saturday’s session, while his team-mate Esteban Ocon was one place and just 0.003s behind.

Gasly, who finished third in the rain-affected Dutch GP last weekend, admitted that the A523 simply wasn’t fast enough on Monza’s straights.

“Unfortunately, all weekend I was quite happy with the car balance, but we've just been two seconds off the pace the whole time,” he said when asked by Autosport about the team’s form.

“We knew coming here in Monza it would be the toughest weekend of the year with all these long straights. And yeah, it's clearly been the case.

“So we expected to be out in Q1. But you always have optimism that maybe with a hard tyre or something, you could get through, but that's all we had, unfortunately. A difficult weekend so far.”

Gasly actually had a tougher time on the hard tyre, which is mandated for Q1 under the Alternative Tyre Allocation (ATA) rules used this weekend.

“I think the hard tyre is probably the worst, I felt, of all,” he said. “I was really happy with the car on soft, pretty happy on medium, and with the hard, through corner balance has been just worse, and not going in the right direction for our car.

“Ultimately, you look at GPS, and it's very clear on where we're losing and yeah, we knew that we maximised everything we could, but the package doesn't suit the layout. I think we will have to analyse, review and come up with better solutions for next year.”

Pierre Gasly, Alpine A523

Pierre Gasly, Alpine A523

Gasly said he no issue with the ATA rules. “Ultimately, this weekend, this wasn't the issue at all or a problem, it's just the speed [not being there],” he explained. “And that's what we lacked. That's just a fair conclusion.”

He added: “We came here knowing our weaknesses, we knew that they would be amplified here. [They were] clearly identified straightaway from FP1, [we tried] to react and maximise the package that we've got, but [it's] still not enough.

“I think it's as difficult as it can be to take it [on] the chin. You've got to look at it objectively. It's got to give us direction for next season, in the way that we want to approach this sort of very particular track.”

Ocon did not expect such a tough session

On the other side of the garage, Ocon had a hectic session featuring an on-track clash with Lando Norris and a trip through the gravel that left him with a damaged floor for the final run.

He indicated that he was more surprised than Gasly at failing to progress from Q1.

When asked if he'd expected a tough session, he said: Not as difficult as this, no. I felt that at least probably we could get into Q2, and fight for top of Q2. 

But today there were a lot of cars that were quicker than us. That's the reality.

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A523

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A523

Photo by: Jake Grant / Motorsport Images

It was a tricky session for us, not the result that we wanted, both cars exiting in Q1. We seem to be performing less good than [on] the other tracks. 

We are still digging into why those problems are coming to us here. I'm sure we'll find answers.

“But today was not good enough, and I tried to push the car a lot in run one, and picked up a bit of floor damage for run two, which wasn't ideal. But all in all, 0.003s from one car to another.

“So I think we pretty much maximised the potential today, and it is unfortunate that we are not quick enough.”

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