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
How Lotus F1 uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’ Plus

How Lotus F1 uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’

Cast in the mould of its founder Colin Chapman, Lotus was powerful and daring but 
flawed – as it proved through further soaring peaks and painful troughs into the 1980s. DAMIEN SMITH examines a game-changing era

The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address Plus

The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address

OPINION: Changes to the layout of Abu Dhabi’s circuit aim to reverse the trend of insipid Formula 1 races there - the promoter has even described one of the new corners as “iconic”. And that, argues STUART CODLING, is one of this venue’s abiding failings

Formula 1
Jul 26, 2021
How Ferrari offered Britain's next F1 prospect what Red Bull couldn't Plus

How Ferrari offered Britain's next F1 prospect what Red Bull couldn't

Last year's Formula 2 runner-up Callum Ilott could be on his way to becoming the first Briton to contest a grand prix in an Alfa Romeo since Reg Parnell in 1950. But, says OLEG KARPOV, the Ferrari Driver Academy protege is having to temper his ambition at the moment – outwardly at least…

Formula 1
Jul 25, 2021
The signs that point to F1's rude health Plus

The signs that point to F1's rude health

OPINION: Formula 1's calendar might still be facing disruption as the pandemic affects travel but, says MARK GALLAGHER, the business itself is fundamentally strong thanks to the epic rivalry taking place on track and the consistent arrival of new sponsors

Formula 1
Jul 24, 2021
The unexpected benefit of F1’s sprint race repeat Plus

The unexpected benefit of F1’s sprint race repeat

OPINION: Formula 1's sprint race trial at Silverstone drew mixed feedback on Saturday, but there remained the true test of how it would impact Sunday's Grand Prix. While fans were busy marvelling at Fernando Alonso's progress, a key lesson was being learned that would directly contribute to the dramatic lap one clash at Copse the following day

Formula 1
Jul 22, 2021
The off-track considerations that led to F1’s Hamilton/Verstappen Silverstone shunt Plus

The off-track considerations that led to F1’s Hamilton/Verstappen Silverstone shunt

OPINION: Formula 1’s 2021 title fight turned ugly last weekend when Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton collided at the start of the British Grand Prix. Verstappen thankfully walked away unharmed, but this had been a clash long-since coming

Formula 1
Jul 21, 2021
Will 2022's all-new cars look like F1's concept model? Plus

Will 2022's all-new cars look like F1's concept model?

Formula 1 provided its clearest example yet of what the 2022 cars are set to look like when it presented a full-scale concept to the world during the build-up to last weekend’s British Grand Prix. Underneath the special shiny livery was a design that hinted at the future, but teams will be digging into key areas that may reap differing results

Formula 1
Jul 20, 2021
British Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

British Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2021 British Grand Prix will live long in the memory for the dramatic clash between Formula 1's two title protagonists, which opened the door for other drivers to capitalise. One did so in spectacular fashion, while others fluffed their lines

Formula 1
Jul 19, 2021