Starting on wets left us 'screwed' says Gasly as he rues AlphaTauri's Imola strategy
Pierre Gasly was one of only four drivers to start the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix on wet tyres, but after dropping down the order when the race got under way, the Frenchman said he regretted taking a strategy gamble.
Only Gasly - who qualified a superb fifth for the race - both Haas drivers and Alpine’s Esteban Ocon chose to start the race on full wets while the other 16 drivers chose intermediate tyres. It became clear that inters were the better compound and Gasly had dropped down to 10th before his Lap 14 pitstop, and was down in 18th by Lap 18.
“I need to have a look at the whole race,” he said on Sunday. “Obviously a lot of things happened and from the start, it was difficult for us. At some point, I guess we were screwed, as we were waiting for the track to be drier.
“Yeah, it clearly didn’t work out for us at the start but then after the restart we had a couple of battles and managed to save a couple of points. We need to have a look, exactly, at what could have been better but for sure, it wasn’t a great Sunday for us,” explained Gasly.
Gasly did make it up to P8 by the end of the race, capitalising on retirements for Valtteri Bottas and George Russell and storming up the field on medium tyres after the Lap 35 rolling restart. After Lance Stroll’s post-race penalty for passing him off the track and gaining an advantage, Gasly was promoted to P7.
The Frenchman still lamented his and AlphaTauri’s decision to start on wet tyres.
“Honestly, [it was] very very difficult. We decided to start with the wets, and I was in favour, the team was in favour, we thought we would try it; in the end it turned out we were the only ones out there and there was just no grip at all, really.
“At some point we were last in the race. Starting P5, it was clearly not what we expected and we wanted. And then after the restart I think I was P14, I tried to come back and use more of the pace of the car on the dry and we managed to save a couple of points and finish P8, but yes, for sure, it wasn’t a great afternoon for us,” he said.
As Yuki Tsunoda’s late spin prevented the rookie from gaining points having started last thanks to a crash in Q1, Gasly was AlphaTauri’s only hope of scoring points in their home race. They leave Imola fifth in the standings, three points ahead of Aston Martin.