Scuderia AlphaTauri are leaving Baku with mixed emotions, after Pierre Gasly stormed to an impressive fifth-place finish, while a broken rear wing element meant a late stop for Yuki Tsunoda that put him out of the points.
“It’s been pretty incredible for us today. Finishing in the top five is really good, especially considering how the start of our year has played out. We’ve not had that much luck so far, so it was important to get a clean weekend, which is what we’ve achieved here in Baku. We made no mistakes this weekend, we showed great pace in practice, then we had the best Quali of the year yesterday and today we finished in our highest position of the season to date. We also enjoyed a nice little battle with Lewis, which was fun. We knew at the start of the race that it would be relentless, as we headed in with just one new set of Hards, so we were really hoping for a clean end to the race but unfortunately, we had the second Virtual Safety Car, and we knew that wouldn’t play out in our favour. I tried to defend against Lewis the best I could, once he pitted for new tyres, but he was much faster – I tried to nurse my tyres through the race, but they really weren’t in great shape by that point. At the end of the day, to be in a position to fight with the Mercedes means that we’re doing a really good job, so it’s great for the team to come away with lots of points today.”
“I’m really disappointed today. Until the reliability issue the race was going really well for me, we were really in control of the tyres and the pace was good, so I think we could’ve easily finished in P6 today. I wasn’t fully aware of the issue, as it wasn’t causing too much of a change to our performance, that’s why I was a bit shocked when I was called in. It’s such a shame to be coming away without points from my side of the garage, as the team have done such a great job this weekend and we’ve been strong in every session.”
Guillaume Dezoteux (Head of Vehicle Performance)
“We’ve got mixed emotions here in Baku today. We are all extremely happy to achieve a great, and well-deserved, fifth place with Pierre. However, we are very disappointed for Yuki, who lost a possible sixth position due to mechanical damage around the rear wing DRS mechanism and flap. The race was intense and following a strong first stint on the medium tyre, we decided to use the opportunity of the first Virtual Safety Car period to pit both cars and switch to hard tyres. It was a little bit earlier than we had hoped and we knew it would be a long way to the end of the race. Both drivers did a fantastic job at managing the tyres and the car, everything was looking good and steady. Unfortunately, thanks to the second VSC, Hamilton could fit a second set of Hards and pass us just seven laps before the end of the race. Pierre kept his head down and finished the race P5 with good pace, considering his very old tyres. For Yuki, the mechanical damage meant we were forced to stop and repair the issue, losing many positions. We apologise to him, he did a fantastic job this weekend and deserved this result. Anyway, this weekend boosts our morale. We have been able to close the gap to sixth place in the Constructors’ Championship and the target is to confirm this good form in Canada next week.”