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'I felt pretty bad' – Gasly makes Q3 while battling virus in Mexico

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Several people in the Formula 1 paddock have succumbed to a stomach bug in Mexico, with Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly one of them. The Frenchman didn’t sleep much overnight, but found a way to complete qualifying and score a top-10 start on the grid to boot…

Gasly looked unwell when he faced media on Saturday, the Toro Rosso driver having had a nap between final practice and qualifying in a bid to feel better.

“I didn’t sleep much,” said Gasly. “There’s a virus going round, quite a lot of people are sick. I just got it. It wasn’t a great feeling this morning, but I just tried to rest all day long and to do the job when it mattered.

READ MORE: Verstappen takes sensational Mexican pole as Bottas suffers big crash

“Once you get the adrenaline and the speed and you know you have to do the job, you switch to a different zone. In terms of concentration, it’s a bit tougher. I was still able to do a good job, but for sure I wasn’t in my best shape.

When asked what he was suffering from, Gasly replied: “You don’t want to know.” He added: “I did eat some tacos! Clearly Mexican food is way more spicy than what we have in France. I don’t really know where it came from. I felt pretty bad but it’s starting to get better.”

Daniil Kvyat: Nice to have a 'trouble-free' qualifying

Gasly says he will go back early to the hotel and try to sleep “as much as I can” and hopes to “be in the best shape possible for the race”.

Looking ahead to Sunday, Gasly admitted McLaren had an advantage over them, with Toro Rosso's main focus now on defending from Sergio Perez, who starts one place back in 11th and will have free tyre choice.

“We don’t have the pace to fight with McLaren,” he said. “I think ninth and 10th was the best we could get today. We tried with the prime on the first run in Q2, but the time difference was too big. We need to see tomorrow if it will be a disadvantage or if we can manage to make it work.

“[McLaren] are not our target. Sergio is our target behind in P11. I think it’s a long race, as the one-stop is clearly not easy. In terms of strategy, there is a lot of things to do. We’ll have the two cars in the top 10. Hopefully we can bring the maximum points home.”

With both Renaults starting behind, the Mexican GP is a big opportunity for Toro Rosso to close the six-point gap to the fifth-placed French marque in the constructors’ championship.

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