Pierre Gasly was left rueing what might have been after the Frenchman failed to convert his front-row starting slot into a good haul of points in today's Qatar Grand Prix.
The 2020 Italian Grand Prix winner, who initially qualified fourth on the grid, was promoted to second just over an hour before the start; after Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen, we’re given grid penalties for ignoring waved yellow flags, which we’re flown after Gasly stopped his car on the main straight due to a puncture.
But Gasly’s race quickly fell apart shortly after the start, as the Frenchman lost second to Fernando Alonso on Lap 1 before he promptly fell back through the order due to his soft tyres suffering degradation.
Despite switching to the medium tyres at his first stop, Gasly couldn’t get back into the points-paying positions and came home a disappointing 11th at the chequered flag.
“It’s a really frustrating day. Both Yuki and myself started in the top 10, but went massively backwards during the race. I was giving everything I had inside the car today, but we were just too slow. Even at the start I wasn’t able to stick with Alonso, so we tried to go for an aggressive two stop strategy, but the pace just wasn’t there. It didn’t work today, which is really disappointing.”
The Frenchman was also unsure whether the changes made to his car after Qualifying may have contributed to him failing to score points for the first time since the United States Grand Prix.
“After the incident yesterday we changed some parts on the car, I don’t know if these could have impacted our race pace today, but we’ll have to go away and review everything, as I just can’t explain it right now.”
Alpha Tauri’s technical director Joey Egginton explained that Gasly’s struggles in the race were due to a combination of tyre degradation and issues with the car’s balance.
“Tonight’s race has been a difficult one as both cars struggled with pace and tyre degradation. With Pierre we were struggling with balance, as he had high front left tyre wear, meaning he could not follow the cars ahead. So again, we were forced to bring the first stop forward and adapt the strategy to allow tyre wear to be managed. The net result of these issues impacted track positions and we did not have sufficient pace to recover on this occasion.”