Gasly hails ‘massive motivation boost’ for overhauled Alpine after ‘insane’ run to P3 at Zandvoort
Pierre Gasly was full of smiles at the end of the Dutch Grand Prix after landing Alpine’s second podium finish of the season and his first since the 2021 campaign in a dramatic, rain-hit encounter at the Zandvoort circuit.
Gasly started Sunday’s race in 12th position but made the most of the tricky conditions to jump up the order and mix it at the front, having benefitted from an early switch to intermediate tyres when rain arrived on the first lap.
While he ultimately crossed the line in fourth, Gasly’s result became third when Sergio Perez’s five-second time penalty was applied for speeding in the pit lane – backing up team mate Esteban Ocon’s podium in Monaco and his recent Sprint rostrum in Belgium.
It also follows a turbulent period for the Alpine operation, who parted ways with Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer and Sporting Director Alan Permane after the Belgian Grand Prix weekend, and will also be losing Chief Technical Officer Pat Fry to Williams.
“It feels good! I must say, it feels good,” said Gasly, who last finished on a Grand Prix podium in Azerbaijan in 2021. “Especially at the start of the season, I felt like we were pretty unfortunate on a number of occasions and we were like, ‘Okay, there’s nothing we can do, just keep pushing, focusing on ourselves and improve what we can and what we have in our hands’.
“Today was an insane race, a lot of action, a lot of calls. I called it on Lap 1 to box straight away. We had a great pit stop, great strategy, the pace was good, I could keep up and even pull away from the Ferrari and stay not too far from Fernando.
“It just got me very excited again. Fighting for these positions is obviously a lot more enjoyable. We had a small penalty, a five-second penalty, but luckily on the other side, Checo had the same penalty as well and it all worked out.”
Pushed on the big calls made throughout the race, particularly at the end of the first lap, he continued: “We just know we’ve got to be sharp and in these conditions, there’s a lot to gain and a lot to lose as well, so it’s always… You’ve got such a small time to decide.
“Out of Turn 13 on Lap 1, I was like, ‘I want to box’ and then for a second I was like it might be one lap too early. Straight after, I just took the radio and I told the team, ‘Okay, I’m boxing’, because I knew there was definitely a bigger reward from where we were.
“After that it was just about trying to put in some strong laps, and the car felt great – we managed to do a good step from Friday to Saturday and also today, so I’m very pleased.
“Fifteen points feels good and also for the whole team, it’s a massive motivation boost after the top three in the Sprint in Spa, and straight away we get a podium, so I’m very pleased for all the guys.”