Gasly thrilled with AlphaTauri’s short-run performance as Tsunoda hails 'special’ Jeddah track
AlphaTauri enjoyed a stellar opening day in Saudi Arabia, with Pierre Gasly taking a top-three finish in FP2 while Yuki Tsunoda improved to eighth in that session. Now both drivers are eyeing up a solid result this weekend as they try and close the gap to Alpine in the constructors'.
Gasly began the day by finishing fourth fastest in FP1, and improved to third in the following session, where he was just 0.081s behind leader Lewis Hamilton at the chequered flag. With AlphaTauri 25 points behind Alpine in the chase for P5, this will be a crucial weekend for the team, and it looks like they’ve got off to a flying start.
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“I must say, I really enjoyed it,” said Gasly. “It’s very high-speed, so we’re going through the corners at some crazy, crazy speeds, and you get quite a lot of adrenaline, a big rush of adrenaline, and the whole day has been very, very good for us.
“We were fourth this morning and third this afternoon. Really happy with the pace but still a bit more work to do for the long runs.
“Yes, we know on Saturday we usually do pretty well, so I’m quite confident for tomorrow, even if I still think we have work to do to improve and find a bit more performance, but I think mainly it’s for us to work on Sunday,” added Gasly, who started P2 at the previous race in Qatar, before finishing a disconsolate P11.
“We know that [the race is] where we struggle usually a bit more and today I didn’t feel great during the long runs, so I think we’ve got a bit more work to do on that side. But yes, except that the track is very cool to drive and [I’m] excited for tomorrow.”
Team mate Tsunoda was 15th in the opening session but finished eighth under the lights in FP2 and clearly relished his time on track – particularly through the winding first sector.
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“The first sector was really quite special,” he said. “I have never driven those kind of corners. I mean obviously I enjoyed it a lot – until Turn 13 it was completely new for me. And I think Sector 2, Sector 3, a little bit different kind of corners compared to Sector 1, but still enjoyable, and overall, today was a good day,” said Tsunoda.
“I think the pace today was quite good,” he added. “I just have to adapt to the different compounds; the hard tyre was quite good but the soft tyre didn’t feel quite good as the hard tyre… but I think overall the pace is good,” concluded the rookie.