Gasly 'disappointed' with P9 after Virtual Safety Car gamble backfires in Russia
Despite bagging another points finish in the Russian Grand Prix, Pierre Gasly came away from Sochi somewhat disappointed with P9, after AlphaTauri's gamble to pit him during Virtual Safety Car period backfired.
Having started ninth on the grid, Gasly was running as high as fifth at one point during the race as his team kept him out on track on the hard tyres – then saw the Lap 42 VSC as a prime opportunity to pit him for mediums for a last charge up the field.
However, Gasly had already been slowed down fighting the likes of Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen mid-race and the VSC caution period ended up being too brief to give the Frenchman an advantage. He emerged P11 and out of the points, but did recover to take P10 off Lando Norris and P9 from Red Bull’s Alex Albon at the end of the race.
“I was a bit disappointed with P9 in the end because I really felt the car’s pace was slightly better and especially when I cleared Kimi [Raikkonen] on that second stint, I was catching Daniil [Kvyat] and [Esteban] Ocon quite quickly," he said. "I was looking forward to a nice battle in the last couple of laps with them for P7, I think.
“The Virtual Safety Car came out, we gambled, it didn’t pay off this time. That’s how it is,” he explained.
But Gasly, who took his first F1 race win at Monza this season, said that AlphaTauri’s throw of the dice could well have paid off handsomely if the VSC period – implemented as Haas’s Romain Grosjean smashed through Turn 2 bollards attempting to rejoin the circuit – had been longer.
“Yeah it was a bit of a gamble I guess. If it [the VSC] was slightly longer, it would have paid off quite well,” said Gasly. “In the end as soon as we came in it went green again. It wasn’t so lucky timing but in the end we managed to recover to P9 and overtake Alex and Lando.
"Honestly, the car was good today," he added. "I felt like we could have fought for slightly more, especially the start of the race was good – I was in front of Charles [Leclerc] and… in that middle part of the race we lost too much pace fighting.”