Pierre Gasly opened the first ever Saudi Arabia GP with two incredibly strong performances in the first practise sessions, especially in the second one, when he ended in third place less than a tenth of a second behind Lewis Hamilton in P1.
The Frenchman was extremely satisfied after his first taste of Yeddah, and is a fan of the new track:
“I must say, I really enjoyed it. It’s very high-speed, so we’re going through the corners at some crazy, crazy speeds, and you get quite a lot of adrenaline, a big rush of adrenaline, and the whole day has been very, very good for us," he said.
Gasly is particularly pleased by his shorter stints, but reckons that it's important to polish more the longer runs, thinking about Sunday's race and the constructor's championship. After two races tied in the points, Alpine gained in Qatar a 25 points advantage on the Italian team due to a double top 5 finish in the fight for P5.
“Yes, we know on Saturday we usually do pretty well, so I’m quite confident for tomorrow, even if I still think we have work to do to improve and find a bit more performance, but I think mainly it’s for us to work on Sunday."
"We know that [the race is] where we struggle usually a bit more and today I didn’t feel great during the long runs, so I think we’ve got a bit more work to do on that side. But yes, except that the track is very cool to drive and [I’m] excited for tomorrow," the former Red Bull driver concluded.
His teammate Yuki Tsunoda improved a lot during the day, as he was stuck in P15 after the first session but managed to enter the top ten with the eight fastest time. The Japanese driver was pretty impressed with the speed of the track as well.
"The first sector was really quite special, I have never driven those kind of corners. I mean obviously I enjoyed it a lot – until Turn 13 it was completely new for me."
"And I think Sector 2, Sector 3, a little bit different kind of corners compared to Sector 1, but still enjoyable, and overall, today was a good day," he added.
Tsunoda, third place finisher in last season's Formula 2 championship, believes that his AT02 has what it takes to perform well through the weekend.
“I think the pace today was quite good. I just have to adapt to the different compounds; the hard tyre was quite good but the soft tyre didn’t feel quite good as the hard tyre… but I think overall the pace is good," he summed up.