A performance of a driver that has driven 100 Grands Prix. That’s how Toro Rosso Team Principal Franz Tost described Pierre Gasly’s sensational drive to fourth place in Bahrain in what was only his seventh Grand Prix start…
Toro Rosso: Gasly’s performance was extraordinary
The Frenchman’s first full season got off to a miserable start in Australia when a Honda power unit issue ended his race. But Gasly was on fire from the moment he got behind the wheel in the desert this weekend.
Quick throughout all three practice sessions, he delivered a brilliant sixth place in qualifying, which turned into fifth on the grid following Lewis Hamilton’s grid penalty for a gearbox change.
He then delivered a drive of the highest calibre in the race, to finish fourth and win F1’s Driver of the Day vote in the process.
I think nothing can beat the feeling that we had with this fourth position
“Pierre did a fantastic job,” Tost told F1.com. “It all started on Friday, with really good lap times and very good technical feedback.
“Then on Saturday, he qualified sixth and started fifth and in the race, he had a fantastic start, defending his position in the first corner and brought home the fourth place without any mistakes.
“He controlled the race as if he had driven 100 races in Formula 1. It was extraordinary. It was a fantastic job today. I hope that this will only be the start.”
It came on a weekend where Toro Rosso introduced a new aerodynamic update package, while Honda delivered gains, too, both in terms of performance and reliability .
The result gave Honda their best-ever finish since returning to F1 in 2015 and it was Toro Rosso’s seventh top-four finish in their 228-race history.
Gasly was delighted for the team as well as new engine supplier Honda, who previously had a tough three years with McLaren.
“It's unbelievable,” said Gasly. “Sixth in qualifying, now fourth in the race, we never expected something like this, so yeah, just super happy about it.
“For the team it feels like [a win]. It's the best result for Honda as well since they came back. I think the people in Japan, I don't know what time it is now, but they must be super happy about it.
“It's just great. They had a tough couple of years. It's a great way to motivate them and show them they need to be pushing. We did a massive step this weekend.
“Since we arrived, the car was fast. To have my best qualifying ever in Q3 already was massively satisfying, but I think nothing can beat the feeling that we had with this fourth position.”
Toro Rosso’s last top-four finish came in last year’s Singapore Grand Prix, courtesy of Carlos Sainz.