Gasly 'doesn't have an answer' for AlphaTauri's improved Baku form

Pierre Gasly says he has no explanation for his AlphaTauri Formula 1 team's improved competitiveness in Baku after equalling his best-ever qualifying in fourth for the Azerbaijan GP.

Gasly 'doesn't have an answer' for AlphaTauri's improved Baku form

The Frenchman clocked the fifth fastest time in Friday's FP2 session and then stunned rivals by being quickest in FP3 on Saturday. Come qualifying he was in the fight for pole position, and was ultimately beaten only by Charles Leclerc, Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.

Even more remarkably, he was only 0.002s behind championship leader Verstappen, and just 0.115s shy of world champion Hamilton.

Gasly has qualified in the top six four times so far this season, but his pace relative to the frontrunners over the 3.73 mile Baku lap came as a surprise.

“Honestly. It's really incredible today,” Gasly said when asked by Autosport why AlphaTauri is performing so strongly.

“I mean, P1 in P3, we didn't really understand where it came from. I just pushed and all the weekend I just did my thing, and just clicked to the car.

“It seems to be working really well on this track, and the same in quali. At the end of the day I think we were fighting for the pole with the Mercedes, the Ferrari and the Red Bull and up to sector two I think we were still in the fight for pole and losing a bit in the last straight, as Charles had a tow.

“To be in a position to fight for such a thing is not something that we've seen often in this team. And it really shows the good momentum and the good work that we're all doing.”

PLUS: The AlphaTauri improvements that mean Gasly’s form is no fluke 

Gasly’s pace was especially surprising given that the car tended to struggle in low-speed corners earlier in the season, notwithstanding his strong run to finish sixth in Monaco.

Although the Baku track has a long flat-out blast from Turn 16 to Turn 1, most of the corners where the cars can make up or loose time are relatively slow.

Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri AT02

Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri AT02

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

“I think if the team knew, and I knew [the reason for the upswing], then you will see us in that position every weekend,” Gasly added.

“At the moment I don't have the answer. The only thing I can point out is Monaco has been our strongest weekend, a street track, quite low speed corners, and the set-up there is quite different.

“We're coming here Baku, a street track, quite bumpy, very low speed [corners], so set-up is again quite different than usual.

“There must be something we need to analyse and understand, because at the start of the year low speed was not our strength.

“Here we don't have any medium or high speed corners, so we don't need to focus in these areas, and the car seems to work.

“At the moment I have no answer, but clearly some work for us to be done and to understand that.”

Unlike his rivals, Gasly has saved two sets of hard tyres for the race to open up a soft-hard-hard strategy, depending on how safety cars fall.

“I'm really happy because we made a choice to keep two hard tyres, which cost us a set of soft tyres for quali - we had only four sets, compared to most of the guys, who had five sets,” he explained.

“We knew it will be slightly more tricky for us, but at the end of the day, I think it gives us a bit more flexibility with the strategy.

“We're not fighting for anything, I'm not fighting for the championship, I'm not really fighting for anything and when you have a weekend when the car works well then just need to use it and hope for the best result we can.

“We've got to be at the finish. For sure there will be a lot of things happening, but at the same time we need to go aggressive, and try to do the best best job we can.”

shares
comments

Related video

The no-ego Williams ace foiled by 90s F1’s technology push

Previous article

The no-ego Williams ace foiled by 90s F1’s technology push

Next article

"Bored" Wolff yet to decide on F1 flexi-wing protest

"Bored" Wolff yet to decide on F1 flexi-wing protest
Load comments
The new age of sponsorship facilitated by F1’s relevancy push Plus

The new age of sponsorship facilitated by F1’s relevancy push

The age of the high-profile title sponsor is over, says JONATHAN NOBLE, but Formula 1’s commitment to technological innovation is attracting high-tech partners

How Britain’s lost Ferrari star epitomised a bygone F1 era Plus

How Britain’s lost Ferrari star epitomised a bygone F1 era

The 1956 Italian Grand Prix was over for Juan Manuel Fangio, along with his hopes of winning the world championship – until his Ferrari team-mate (and title rival) voluntarily surrendered his own car so Fangio could continue. NIGEL ROEBUCK recalls Peter Collins, a remarkable sportsman

The 'surprise' Mercedes time that puts F1's victory fight back on a knife-edge in France Plus

The 'surprise' Mercedes time that puts F1's victory fight back on a knife-edge in France

Red Bull led the way after the first two practice sessions for the 2021 French Grand Prix, but only just ahead of Mercedes. There was all the usual practice skulduggery complicating the performance picture, but one aspect seen at the world champion squad gave it a ‘surprise’ lift, as it looks to leave its street-circuit struggles firmly in the past

Formula 1
Jun 18, 2021
How Ferrari got its F1 recovery plan working Plus

How Ferrari got its F1 recovery plan working

After its worst campaign in 40 years, the famous Italian team had to bounce back in 2021 – and it appears to be delivering. Although it concedes the pole positions in Monaco and Baku paint a somewhat misleading picture of its competitiveness, the team is heading into the 2022 rules revamp on much stronger footing to go for wins again

Formula 1
Jun 18, 2021
The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness Plus

The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness

Long-awaited wins for ex-Formula 1 drivers Marcus Ericsson and Kevin Magnussen in IndyCar and IMSA last weekend gave F1 a reminder of what it is missing. But with the new rules aimed at levelling the playing field, there’s renewed optimism that more drivers can have a rewarding result when their day of days comes

Formula 1
Jun 17, 2021
The figures Red Bull and Mercedes can't afford to see again in F1 2021 Plus

The figures Red Bull and Mercedes can't afford to see again in F1 2021

OPINION: An interloper squad got amongst the title contenders during Formula 1’s street-circuit mini-break, where Red Bull left with the points lead in both championships. But, as the campaign heads back to purpose-built venues once again, how the drivers of the two top teams compare in one crucial area will be a major factor in deciding which squad stays in or retakes the top spot

Formula 1
Jun 16, 2021
Why Alfa's boss is ready for the task of securing a stronger F1 future Plus

Why Alfa's boss is ready for the task of securing a stronger F1 future

Two tenth places in recent races have lifted Alfa Romeo to the head of Formula 1's 'Class C' battle in 2021, but longer-term the Swiss-based squad has far loftier ambitions. With the new 2022 rules set to level out the playing field, team boss Frederic Vasseur has good reason to be optimistic, as he explained to Autosport in an exclusive interview

Formula 1
Jun 15, 2021
How Barnard’s revolutionary McLaren transformed F1 car construction Plus

How Barnard’s revolutionary McLaren transformed F1 car construction

The MP4/1 was pioneering by choice, but a McLaren by chance. STUART CODLING relates the tangled (carbonfibre) weaves which led to the creation of one of motor racing’s defining cars

Formula 1
Jun 15, 2021