Pierre Gasly Impresses On Opening Day Of Teams Home Race

After a disappointing weekend in Bahrain, Pierre Gasly has made a fast start to his Scuderia AlphaTauri teams home race at Imola, finishing FP2 in P3, just 0.078s behind Lewis Hamilton who was second fastest.

It was a strong opening day for the French driver, who finished FP1 in P4, and will be looking for a strong qualifying performance tomorrow.

Pierre Gasly Impressive At Imola

After crashing out of the Bahrain Grand Prix, Pierre Gasly is looking to bounce back quickly with a good points haul at Imola. His weekend got off to a great start with strong pace across both sessions.

“I think this has been one of our best Fridays as a team, P4 this morning and P3 this afternoon, and I was so close to the top guys. I’ve felt good in the car since the first lap and I managed to push pretty hard, as well as drive the way I wanted, so I think it’s been a successful day. We focused on short runs initially with the Softs, which looked strong pace wise and then completed some high-fuel laps in preparation for the race on Sunday. We’ve continued to work hard to improve against our main rivals in the midfield and I think, so far, we’ve shown that the pace is good. We’ll analyse the data that we’ve collected again tonight and hopefully we can find a little bit more again in Qualifying tomorrow,” said Gasly.

2021 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Day 1 - Pierre Gasly (image courtesy Scuderia AlphaTauri)
2021 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Day 1 – Pierre Gasly (image courtesy Scuderia AlphaTauri)

Difficult Day For Yuki Tsunoda

While his teammate enjoyed a fantastic day behind the wheel of the AT02-05, it was a tricky day for Yuki Tsunoda, who had a mechanical issue in FP1 and could only complete four laps in the opening session.

“I didn’t manage to complete many laps during FP1, due to an issue, and only managed four push laps in total but the car felt good whilst I was out. The team fixed the issue during the break and I was able to build-up my pace in FP2 as I continued to push more – hopefully I’ll be able to improve again in tomorrow’s practice session ahead of Qualifying. I’ve completed a lot of laps here pre-season, but I think I still managed to gain a lot from the sessions today. I particularly learnt about tyre management around this circuit and have a lot of interesting data from the Softs that I can now go and analyse,” added Tsunoda.

Home Race Weekend Off To Great Start For Scuderia AlphaTauri

All teams want to perform well at their home race, and for Scuderia AlphaTauri, expectation has grown for a strong showing on Sunday after their early weekend form.

“It’s great to be back here racing at the team’s home circuit, it’s such an amazing track – I know the drivers love it and we certainly do too from an engineering side. FP1 was a slightly more difficult session than normal due to some of the systems being down – which obviously was the same for everyone – but it shows how reliant we are on these, particularly the timings, GPS and TV feed. It definitely made it more of a challenge for us engineers. During the morning session we completed some aero testing on Yuki’s car, as we’ve brought some new components here this weekend and want to sign these off ahead of the race. Unfortunately, we had a PU issue on Yuki’s car so only managed limited running in FP1, which meant he wasn’t able to get up to speed quite so quickly. We made some changes to his car ahead of FP2 and everything seems to be back to normal now, which is positive. Pierre completed a standard run plan in FP1; we mostly tried to understand how to operate the tyres in these unusually cold temperatures – concentrating on how to maximise them during the short runs and how to limit the graining during the longer runs. Overall, I think it’s looking positive so far this weekend – the performance over the shorter runs is there and we’ve now got to work with the data tonight to ensure that the pace is there for Qualifying tomorrow,” concluded Chief Race Engineer Jonathan Eddolls.