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Gasly returns to Baku aiming to 'defend' last year's podium finish

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AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly says the Baku City Circuit layout could bring the best out of his AlphaTauri AT03 as he seeks another Azerbaijan Grand Prix podium on Sunday.

The Frenchman qualified fourth for last year's chaotic contest in Azerbaijan and sealed a P3 finish in the late stages, while team mate Yuki Tsunoda managed to finished seventh. For this weekend's race, Gasly said he's "reasonably optimistic" that he can emulate that result.

He added: "Last year we did really well here, as I finished on the podium in third place after qualifying fourth, and it was an excellent race for the team as Yuki was also in the points in seventh.

READ MORE: Verstappen enters Azerbaijan looking to settle 'unfinished business' after last year's retirement

"So, we come to Baku to 'defend' that result. Getting a tow down that final long straight would be helpful for qualifying, but apart from that, it’s another street circuit, very twisty and tight with characteristics similar to Monaco.

"I think the layout could potentially suit us. We mustn’t forget there’s that long main straight, so we will have to see how we deal with that.

2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix: Leclerc and Gasly battle for P3 after race restart

Much like Gasly, Tsunoda said he hoped to repeat last year's Azerbaijan result – a result that would help the Japanese driver recover from a disappointing P17 finish in Monaco.

WATCH: 5 dramatic moments from the Azerbaijan Grand Prix

“There are not many downsides or parts I don’t like about Baku. I particularly enjoy Sector 2, where it goes past the old buildings, and there are plenty of passing opportunities – not just on the very long straight – so in general I like it.

“I hope we can have a clean race week in Azerbaijan and score some points. The team needs to have a strong weekend, putting everything together for the best possible result. We must not repeat what happened in Monaco.”

AlphaTauri enter Azerbaijan seventh in the championship, the Faenza team 33 points behind Alpine.

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