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Gasly says he had to take ‘big risks’ to seal podium after being slowed by engine issues

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BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - JUNE 06: Third placed Pierre Gasly of France and Scuderia AlphaTauri celebrates

Pierre Gasly was in electric form all weekend in Azerbaijan, and the AlphaTauri driver was eventually rewarded with a third career podium finish in P3 – though he’s admitted he feared he might lose the chance after running into mid-race engine issues.

Gasly started fourth and ran in the same position for much of the race before being passed by a surging Sebastian Vettel on lap 35. The Frenchman voiced his displeasure over team radio after the Aston Martin driver sailed past him easily on the pit straight, though he later revealed he’d been battling an engine issue that left him down on power and vulnerable to his rivals on the straight.

READ MORE: ‘Sometimes you can hate this sport’ – Verstappen frustrated to miss out on 'easy win' and chance to extend points lead

"It was very difficult for me mid-race onwards with an engine issue," he said. "We were losing quite a lot of power down the straights and Seb managed to pass us in the middle of the race."

"It was clearly a pretty big difference with Yuki [Tsunoda], for example. So the guys told me a lot of engine switches to try to limit the damage.

"I was very strong in the second sector but the straight was very hard. When Seb passed me, I could literally not do anything there."

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

With Verstappen going out, Gasly lined up fourth for the late-race restart, but facing the same issues as before he said he had to “get his elbows out” to keep Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc at bay in the thrilling fight for what became the final podium slot, once Lewis Hamilton ran off the road.

READ MORE: Hamilton explains switch issue that led to him dropping from P2 to P15 at crucial Azerbaijan GP restart

"I knew in those last two laps, whatever I will do, I knew that Charles behind will pass me on the straight," he said. "And that's what happened.

"So I just got back in the tow and went for it in turn one. He came back at me in turn three and I had to brake very late.

“Every braking I wasn’t sure if I was going to stop the car but I had to go for it, I really wanted that podium.

“I took some big risks, but it was clearly worth it."

Gasly has now stood on every step of a Formula 1 podium, having finished second in Brazil in 2019, first in Italy in 2020 and now third in Azerbaijan. He’s currently P8 in the drivers’ standings with 31 points.

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