Pierre Gasly Third Fastest On Opening Day At Sochi

SOCHI, RUSSIA - SEPTEMBER 24: Pierre Gasly of France driving the (10) Scuderia AlphaTauri AT02 Honda during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Russia at Sochi Autodrom on September 24, 2021 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202109240342 // Usage for editorial use only //

With Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc set to start at the back of the grid on Sunday, Pierre Gasly is ready to capitalise on the opportunity in front of him.

The Frenchman has started well, setting the third-fastest time in FP2, setting himself up well for a strong qualifying performance.

However, it wasn’t all good news for Scuderia Alpha Tauri, as Yuki Tsunoda struggled throughout both sessions, managing only P16 and P18.

Pierre Gasly

“It’s been a positive day in terms of performance, this car seems to be working well here so far and it’s a good start going into the weekend. Whilst the performance is there, I’m not 100% comfortable with the balance inside the car yet so we’ve got a few things that we can take away and improve tonight. We know both Charles and Max are taking penalties for the race, so there are definitely some opportunities for us this weekend. Our main focus though is on our own package and maximising what we can do to help in our tight midfield battle.”

Yuki Tsunoda

“I’ve struggled with the general grip here so far in Sochi, but I’ve managed to gain important mileage in the car today, particularly for Sunday, as we think the race may be sunny. We know the performance is there in the car so I just need to go away tonight, look at the data and see how I can improve for tomorrow. We don’t know what’s going to happen with the weather, so we just need to be as prepared as possible going into FP3 and Qualifying.”

Jonathan Eddolls

“Overall, it’s been a mixed day across the two sides of the garage. Pierre had a strong day, we did some set-up work in FP1 and learnt about the requirements of this track, in terms of the balance in the colder temperatures. We didn’t have a perfect car during the first session, so we did a lot of fine-tuning before heading out again in the afternoon, which has proved to be a step in the right direction. Yuki wasn’t quite as confident in the car and hasn’t been able to extract the same lap times, so we need to do some work tonight to really understand what to do to make him feel more comfortable in the car and extract its potential. The forecast for tomorrow is looking to be a complete wash-out, which likely means we’ll be using the Wets during FP3, hence we used an additional set of Softs today to ensure we had all the relevant data for the race on Sunday, when we expect it will be dry again.”

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