Gasly says AlphaTauri were ‘just too slow’ to score points at Interlagos as Tsunoda rues Safety Car confusion
AlphaTauri endured another difficult Grand Prix in Brazil as they followed up a point-less Mexico City weekend with a repeat non-score in Sao Paulo – Pierre Gasly admitting that the team were simply “not competitive enough”.
While a strong start from P10 saw him gain a place, Gasly’s pace faded upon the switch from soft to medium tyres and the Frenchman had to settle for 12th at the flag, which became 14th after a five-second time penalty for pit lane speeding.
“I was really happy with the start, I managed to get to P9. On the soft, I must say, we were kind of competitive, but then on the medium tyre we struggled,” said Gasly, who is preparing to depart AlphaTauri for Alpine at the end of the season.
“Ultimately, at the end, we were just too slow. We’re not competitive enough compared to the cars around us. It didn’t really matter what strategy we would do.
"Inside the cockpit I tried everything I could, I fought as hard as I could, especially in the end. We had some good battles, but we were not competitive enough for the top 10 here.”
Meanwhile Yuki Tsunoda was the final finisher in 17th place after an unusual situation under the late Safety Car. There was some confusion over why he wasn't able to unlap himself as per the regulations, but post-race the FIA confirmed that the Japanese driver had already officially unlapped himself during a visit to the pits, meaning he could not do so again upon rejoining the track.
“Normally you can go through, you can pass the Safety Car, but I got told that you have to stay in the line. The Safety Car was lighting up the green light, which means the lapped cars can go passed the Safety Car. Somehow I couldn’t,” said Tsunoda, explaining how it unfolded from the cockpit, before he heard the FIA's explanation.
As for his and AlphaTauri’s overall performance, he added: “The pace is… there were still a couple of positives, but still there’s a bit of tricky things going on, so definitely we have to investigate until Abu Dhabi.”
With AlphaTauri failing to score for the second race in a row, and Kevin Magnussen bagging a point in the Sprint, it means Haas are two points clear of AlphaTauri in the constructors’ battle for P8 ahead of the aforementioned Abu Dhabi finale.
Gasly added: “For both of us it’s extremely hard to score points. We tried, that’s the most important [thing], and now we’ve got one last chance in Abu Dhabi. It’s my last race with the team, so it’s going to be an emotional one, and hopefully we can get something out of it.”