RACE DEBRIEF

    Pierre Gasly was buoyed by his AlphaTauri AT03’s performance straight out of the Barcelona pit lane, and despite a small crash on the final day he left Spain buzzing for the Bahrain Official Pre-Season Test.

    The Frenchman completed 187 laps over the three-day programme – more than Day 3 leader Lewis Hamilton – while AlphaTauri managed 308 tours of Barcelona in total. Gasly said he'd been “super excited” to try the new breed of F1 car, and it seemed AlphaTauri’s AT03 did not disappoint.

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    “I must say I was super excited, especially with this new car, just to understand a bit more how it works and have a sort of idea how my feelings will be inside this new car.

    “And it’s been really good, it’s been really positive straight out of the box; I felt quite confident inside the car and it kind of responded the way I wanted. Obviously there’s still a lot of things to work on, but it was a pleasing start.”

    Great start 'straight out of the box' for Pierre Gasly

    However, his final day was curtailed to just 40 laps thanks to a crash in the morning.

    “Unfortunately, I locked up my tyres during the morning running and damaged the car, but testing is about finding the limits and we’ve still been able to gather a lot of valuable data over the three days,” he explained.

    “This is of course only the first test, and we have a lot to analyse before the three more days of testing in Bahrain.”

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    Tsunoda's Day 3 running was curtailed by Gasly's minor crash but he was upbeat about the three-day session

    Gasly's team mate Yuki Tsunoda, now beginning his second season of Formula 1, was equally enthused by his first introduction to the AT03 – but admitted there were some changes needing made to his driving style in order to suit the ground effect package of the 2022 cars.

    “It’s been a good three days of testing here in Barcelona, it’s been really productive, and we’ve learnt a lot about the new car. I’ve been really excited to get back driving since Abu Dhabi, especially knowing that it’s a whole new car, and I’ve really enjoyed my time getting to know the AT03,” said Tsunoda.

    WATCH: How many laps did each team manage at Barcelona pre-season running?

    “There’s still a lot to do ahead of the next test in Bahrain. From my side, I need to make some more adaptions to my driving style to suit this new car, but overall, it’s been a really positive test.

    “We’ve still got three days in Bahrain before the first race, so we need to prepare as much as possible ahead of this so that we can start the season off well.”

    Bahrain’s Official Pre-Season Test is up next on March 10-12 and indeed, as Tsunoda says, it is the teams' final chance to get to grips with the 2022 cars before the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix on March 20.