Pierre Gasly Off To Fast Start In Baku

BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - JUNE 04: Pierre Gasly of France driving the (10) Scuderia AlphaTauri AT02 Honda on track during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Azerbaijan at Baku City Circuit on June 04, 2021 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202106040332 // Usage for editorial use only //

Pierre Gasly has gotten his Azerbaijan Grand Prix weekend off to a fast start, finishing P6 in the opening session, and following it up with a P5 drive in the second session, topping his more fancied rivals at Mercedes and McLaren.

Pierre Gasly Enjoying Fast Start

Following his strong performance in Monaco, Pierre Gasly has picked up where he left off, enjoying a fast start on Day 1 in Baku.

“It’s been a very good Friday for us, a really positive P6 this morning and P5 this afternoon, at the moment I’m feeling very good in the car. I’m able to be quite aggressive and push the limits, I went over too far once or twice but that’s how we find the line and extract the maximum from the car. I’m pretty pleased so far, especially because we did the lap without any slip streams so potentially there’s more pace available to us tomorrow,” said Gasly.

2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Friday - Pierre Gasly (image courtesy Scuderia AlphaTauri)
2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Friday – Pierre Gasly (image courtesy Scuderia AlphaTauri)

First Baku Laps For Yuki Tsunoda

Yuki Tsunoda has experienced his first laps of Baku, and took some time to come to grips with the street circuit, exploring the run off areas as he built up confidence.

“It’s fairly similar to Monaco here, you have to build up the pace and also confidence in the braking zones, as most of the corners need strong braking. I went into the run-off areas a few times but it was good practice for me to find the limit and luckily I didn’t go into the wall! I think the progress from FP1 to FP2 was good, I struggled a bit in the morning, so it was a good step up in FP2. There are a few areas I still need to work on, but the pace is definitely there this weekend, we just need to put it altogether tomorrow,” added Tsunoda.

Further Improvement To Come

Scuderia AlphaTauri’s Chief Race Engineer Jonathan Eddolls was pleased with the teams performance on Day 1, but expects further improvement to follow ahead of qualifying.

“We managed a busy but successful Friday practice here in Baku. Pierre has driven here before but for Yuki it was his first time, in any category, and FP1 was a challenge for him. The dirty and low grip track, combined with the wind, definitely had an impact on his initial performance. We mainly used today’s sessions to build a better picture of how to maximise the performance from the tyres, with both drivers using the Mediums then the Softs, as well as working on the car balance in FP1. The higher track temperatures and the use of a softer compound this time in Baku has enabled us to get the tyres working quicker than in the past here, which is positive. We were quite happy with the car in FP1, although we could still see a number of areas to improve, so we made some set-up changes to both cars for FP2. This appeared to be a step in the right direction and was reflected in the short-run performance. Yuki did exactly what we asked of him and by the end of FP2 he was a close match to Pierre, I am sure he will find more time in FP3 and Qualifying. The long-runs today were difficult when fighting with cars around, as will be the case at the start of the race, but we have some good data now to analyse, which will help us understand where the limit is and we can then use that in our strategy model,” concluded Eddolls.

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