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Gasly sets sights on top-5 grid slot as he takes strong P4 in practice at Imola

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IMOLA, ITALY - OCTOBER 31: Pierre Gasly of France driving the (10) Scuderia AlphaTauri AT01 Honda

AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly and Daniil Kvyat were the only drivers to have driven their 2020 car at Imola ahead of the weekend, courtesy of a filming day in June. Does that give them a leg up on the competition? It certainly didn’t seem to do any harm as Gasly romped to P4 and Kvyat P8 in the single practice session ahead of qualifying for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Afterwards, Gasly – who was fifth last time out in Portugal – said his car had been good from the word go.

READ MORE: Gasly reveals Senna tribute helmet ahead of F1’s Imola return

“It was a pretty busy session on our side," he said. "Obviously with only one and a half hours of practice there was a lot to go through, but the car felt good right out of the box. [We had] pretty good balance and straight away we did a bit of a long run to get an idea of the tyre deg for Sunday, and a bit more performance at the end on the soft. I must say, we seem quite competitive.

"There are still a few things I’d like to improve to be more competitive and more comfortable in the car for quali, but it’s a good start.”

2020 Emilia Romagna GP FP1: Kvyat nails lap despite loose item in cockpit

Asked if he could translate his practice form into a top five grid slot, Gasly was less sure, saying: “We saw the trend in the last few races, we seem to show a bit better performance in practice and the others make a slightly bigger step in quali. Clearly we will target Q3 and try to qualify as high as possible. If we can get a top five that would be amazing, but let’s see what we are able to achieve.”

Kvyat, meanwhile, achieved his eventual eighth place, despite at one point having to deal with something loose in his cockpit that he said was hitting his hand. The Russian has yet to start inside the top 10 this season, so he'll be keen to carry his impressive pace into qualifying.

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