‘We almost retired the car on Lap 10,’ reveals Gasly after P7 finish in Austria
The line between success and failure is often wafer slim in Formula 1 and Pierre Gasly’s race was proof of that as the Alphatauri driver said he was prepared to retire from the Austrian Grand Prix on Lap 10 – only to go on to finish seventh and bag the team more points than Renault and Red Bull.
“For us we were that close from retiring the car,” said Gasly after the first race of the weekend.
High temperatures and the high altitude caused a host of performance problems at this race in 2019, but remarkably, all 20 cars made it to the finish. This year was a different story, with nine classified retirements, and Gasly explained why he almost made it ten early on in the race.
“The team were asking to box the car on Lap 10 because my brake pedal was really flat and the temperatures were going over the roof and I just asked for one more lap and they told me ‘OK, try’, and I stayed out, things got better and in the end we finished P7,” he said.
Gasly's points finish was all the more impressive after a slow start to the weekend, as he posted the 16th and 17th quickest times in Friday’s two practice sessions, before rallying to 12th overall in qualifying.
“It’s amazing to get back racing and get this type of race. It’s really exciting," he said. "I think if someone had told us that we would have been P7 on Sunday we would have signed straight away at the beginning of the weekend."
Gasly made it up to P10 by the first Safety Car intervention and benefitted from several retirements – including those for Racing Point’s Lance Stroll, Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen – to gain three more places by the end of the race.
“We knew it was going to be challenging against the Renaults and McLarens and Racing Points. In the end we just stayed out of trouble until the end, some good fighting and managed to get the points,” he concluded.
With six points from Austria, Gasly made it a 20th career Top-10 finish at the 2020 season opener – and he returns to the Red Bull Ring track in a week to contest the Styrian Grand Prix.
His team-mate Daniil Kvyat was not so lucky, after a tangle with Esteban Ocon saw him crash out of the race late on.
Drivers' standings after Austria
|7 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri||6|
|8 Esteban Ocon Renault||4|
|9 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing||2|
|10 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari||1|