Initially it looked as though Pierre Gasly wouldn’t compete this weekend, when the AlphaTauri team reported he wouldn’t be participating in any track duties on Thursday, because of feeling ‘unwell.’
Yet, the Frenchman appeared for the sessions and put his car into P9 during today’s Qualifying session. Because of grid penalties for a variety of drivers who qualified ahead of him, it was unclear and slightly amusing because of the confusion, where he would be starting in tomorrow’s Italian Grand Prix. When asked by MotorLAT, the Frenchman laughed and said, “P6 or P ‘something’.” It was ultimately confirmed tonight that he'll be P5 on the grid.
Appearing happy and jovial, Gasly continued:
“I’m really happy with it considering the circumstances and how I felt two days ago. I wasn’t even sure I was going to be able to drive the car. Being in Q3 and putting it into P6 is definitely better than what we thought. I’m really happy. It wasn’t an easy one since yesterday, but I’m going through it the best I can.”
Following AlphaTauri's announcement on Thursday that Gasly was unwell and wouldn’t be making any track appearances that day, it was a relief to see the Frenchman back in the sessions, and doing an incredible job.
“Yesterday was good. This morning I woke up with a massive headache again. But doctors told me it was quite normal to feel like that. And I’m not feeling great, but when I got to focus I tried to do the best I can. I must say, it’s been a good day.
“I’m going through quite aggressive treatment with antibiotics and everything, which is never so good to mix when you’re driving. I’m drinking seven litres of water a day [but] I’m still dehydrated. I don’t know what’s going on [with] my body… anyway…”
Driving for the AlphaTauri team, Gasly lives close to the Monza Circuit in Milan, unlike most of the Formula One drivers who reside in Monaco. He was asked by selected media if he felt more at home here than the French circuit, Paul Ricard:
“Based on where I live [geographically] it’s the closest to my home. I’m staying at home [this weekend] which is a pretty good feeling. Paul Ricard is the French Grand Prix and always the one where I’ll feel the most closely connected.”
2019 Formula 2 Champion, Nyck de Vries, jumped into Alex Albon’s Williams car for Qualifying today, and will start in a provisional P8 tomorrow. De Vries clearly impressed the paddock, and Gasly:
“Honestly to me, he’s been extremely impressive, he’s a good friend.”
Remembering that the AlphaTauri driver claimed his first Formula One victory at the Italian Grand Prix here in Monza two years ago, Gasly cannot be discounted for a podium finish this weekend.