The Italian GP was not a memorable race for the AlphaTauri team this time around. What looked to be a promising race weekend for AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly, ultimately ended with a DNF for both him and his teammate Yuki Tsunoda.
Last year, Gasly scored a sensational maiden win at the Italian GP as he managed to keep Carlos Sainz, who at the time drove for McLaren behind him despite the continuous pressure that the Spaniard put on Gasly until the very last lap of the race.
However, this time the Italian GP was a "regrettable " race for both AlphaTauri drivers. In hindsight, Gasly felt that they had the pace after their solid sixth-place qualifying position for the sprint race the day before the race. Gasly also had a racing incident with Daniel Riccardo during the first lap of the Sprint race which resulted in front wing damage and ultimately put him at the back for the race.
The incident with Riccardo during the Sprint race later resulted in Gasly having to take another engine which also came with a grid penalty for the race.
"What happened in Monza was regrettable, as I believe we could have done something good there, especially when you look at how the race went," Gasly admitted ahead of the Russian Grand Prix.
"The weekend ended very badly for the team, for me and for Yuki [Tsunoda, who didn't start due to a brake problem] after our performance had been very good leading up to the race, and I had a super qualifying...
Despite the disappointing race weekend Gasly was able to find a positive aspect to the engine penalty in Italy and believes that the Alpha Tauri team can be competitive for the rest of the races this season. Gasly continued:
"A real shame, but there has been a positive trend after the summer break, as our performance level was very good at all three races since then. It bodes well for the rest of the season, as I believe we can be competitive at all the remaining races.”
"In a way, it was good that we took the engine penalty in Italy, so hopefully we can get to the end of the season without having more."
Looking ahead to the next race in Sochi Gasly says it's a track that he really likes. The French driver also described the track as "technical" with some opportunities for overtakes. The fact that the circuit is at the Olympic Park also adds a unique atmosphere as well.
"I quite like the track, even if the layout features a lot of corners that are very similar to one another," he said.
"The last sector is quite technical, the long straights mean you get some nice fights and overtaking moves. The fact the circuit is in the Olympic Park gives it a special 'sports' atmosphere and Sochi itself has evolved over the years.
"I remember the first time I went with Formula 2 there wasn't much going on, but now there's a good atmosphere."