Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso, Interlagos, 2018

2018 F1 driver rankings #8: Gasly

2018 F1 season review

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Pierre Gasly embarked on his first full season of Formula 1 in 2018, 12 months later than he arguably deserved to following his 2016 GP2 (now F2) title win. He made up for lost time quickly.

After a tough start in Australia, where he lined up last and his Honda power unit gave up after 13 laps, Gasly scored his first points with a remarkable fourth place in Bahrain. Of course on a normal day, without the retirements of the Red Bulls and Ferraris, this would have been seventh, but the fact is Gasly was there to take advantage.

He did have the benefit of running Toro Rosso’s aerodynamic upgrade a day earlier than his team mate. However updates for the STR13 came infrequently, and Gasly consistently proved slightly quicker than Brendon Hartley.

Bahrain was the first of two occasions when Gasly was the first non-Mercedes/Ferrari/Red Bull driver to the chequered flag. The other time was in Hungary, where he capitalised on the STR13’s slow-corners strengths, out-qualified the Red Bull pair on a wet track and finished sixth.

Pierre Gasly

Beat team mate in qualifying11/17
Beat team mate in race8/12
Races finished16/21
Laps spent ahead of team mate607/830
Qualifying margin-0.07s (adjusted)

Honda’s development priorities meant Toro Rosso took a lot of penalties during the season and they still lacked performance on tracks with long straights. As a result Gasly only made five appearances in the points, yet he comfortably out-scored Hartley.

The relationship between the pair deteriorated later in the year and Gasly refused to follow a team order to let Hartley by in Brazil. Not unreasobably, he didn’t want to surrender a place he’d gained over Hartley on merit, but equally he compromised the team’s other car by failing to give way, and could have cost them a points-scoring opportunity.

It was hard not to be reminded of a previous Toro Rosso driver with a similar attitude to team orders: Max Verstappen, who will be Gasly’s team mate at Red Bull next year. Red Bull could be in for a few tense post-race debriefs in 2019.

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Gasly showed he’s a great prospect by putting some astonishing performances in the Toro Rosso when the car seemed good enough for fighting for points. He utterly beat Hartley and fought until the end with Leclerc and Grosjean in the drivers’ championship. He’s been quick, very quick, but compare him with Verstappen seems too optimistic; Gasly may reach the Ricciardo’s tier in terms of pure talent, but it’ll be interesting to see him fighting with Max in 2019, specially after having shown some guts in several radio rants with Toro Rosso re Hartley.

What’s your verdict on Pierre Gasly’s 2018 season? Which drivers do you feel he performed better or worse than? Have your say in the comments.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 27 comments on “2018 F1 driver rankings #8: Gasly”

    1. Seems about right, although with the qualifying margin being that small, Hartley didn’t really do a very bad job. Race pace was where Gasly really made it pay.

      1. Earlier in the season Hartley was nowhere, but in the latter third of the season he was regularly outperforming Gasly, and probably would have outraced him if he hadn’t had so much bad luck.

        Gasly impressed me early in the season, but not at all in the latter half.

    2. No cause for a llama, this is all part of the changing of the guard. I’ll be a winner or I’ll eat my hat. But if they try and bust me back down to STR then alpaca my bags and go.

      1. This is beautiful.

    3. I can’t help but feel that both Toro Rosso drivers under-performed. Gasly’s good results in Monaco and Hungary seem to highlight the strength of the chassis, and even at Spa and Monza they were quite competitive. Still, they never managed to come close to their awesome Bahrain performance. Despite their aggressive engine development they got less competitive as the season progressed, which was really weird. Of course it didn’t help that they had to start many races from the back of the grid, but they were unlikely to score points in those races no matter what. All in all, I feel Gasly was fast but inconsistent in the first half of the season, and very unimpressive in the second half, which I don’t think is a good sign. Verstappen will destroy him next year.

    4. Oh Gasly, I think many were waiting for you! :-)

      1. I’m still waiting for Perez; had him even lower in my ranking.
        And maybe Vettel (clumsy 2nd part of the season) cannot be far ahead either.

      2. @phylyp
        Gasly arrived way later than expected … Perez even more so.

    5. Gasly was decent in his first season of F1, but I can’t imagine any situation next season where he is outperforming Verstappen. However, if both Red Bull and Gasly prove to be competitive, it isn’t out of the question that we could have three drivers being in a title fight in F1 for their first time ever (Verstappen, Gasly and Leclerc), which could make it interesting how Vettel and Hamilton deal with these unknown threats.

      1. Yes. I hope Honda had decent engine too. Verstappen, Gasly and Leclerc aggressiveness in the first two front row is what we need. I’d like to watch how Lewis push aside drivers other than his teammate in the first corner. I’d like to see if Seb can handle it.

    6. There’s is ranking on the weekend? I can’t do this on weekends.

      I ranked #10 so I will let this one be, just call mr of someone says something funny

    7. I wasn’t impressed by gasly and can think of more than 10 drivers I would have ranked higher. the qualifying gap to hartley is tiny (though of course the 11-6 scoreline is more conclusive) and he had many messy races. highlighting his refusal to let hartley past in brazil is a negative, in my opinion, and shows immaturity.

      his high points were high, but our only point of comparison is hartley (who is ranked low by pretty much everyone) so i can’t see a good argument for ranking him this high. next year will be a massive wake up.

    8. he won F2, he won Formula Japan almost on his first go, he got great results with the str
      I feel like people underestimate him and he will really challenge verstappen next year

    9. NOT before Kimi (1win, 12 podiums; 3rd in WDC this year)..!

      1. Bruno, given that Kimi had one of the fastest cars on the grid, if not at times the outright fastest car, wouldn’t 3rd place be pretty much the minimum that he would be expected to deliver in the WDC?

        In that sense, Kimi’s performance was solid, but I wouldn’t say that it was exceptional when compared to what he would have been expected to deliver – he’s pretty much delivered what he would have been expected to deliver.

      2. This is a ‘driver performance’ ranking, not a ‘whole package’ ranking nor a popularity contest.

        1. In that event I will need to revise my 21st place rating for Stroll

          1. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
            16th December 2018, 7:18

            No you don’t :-)

    10. I expect Perez to follow in #7 but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Vettel…

    11. A decent season overall by him especially his performances in Bahrain, Monaco, and Hungary stand out and relatively vocal on team radio quite a few times as well. It’ll be interesting to see how he’s going to fare out against Max in equal machinery given that both of them seem to share similarities in their approaches to certain things. Hopefully, for example, a Turkey 2010 type of situation wouldn’t happen, though.

    12. Couldn’t conclusively beat Hartley by the end of the season without kicking off on the radio or making excuses – Max is going to humiliate him next year.

      1. My thoughts exactly. He had a couple of stellar race weekends in Bahrain and Hungary… then spent most of the season battling a teammate who was probably the poorest driver on the grid. Best of luck to him next season when he’s going up against the best in the business.

        He’ll be running his mouth full of excuses from Australia to Abu Dhabi next season.

    13. Not unreasobably, he didn’t want to surrender a place he’d gained over Hartley on merit, but equally he compromised the team’s other car by failing to give way, and could

      Well he chose to disobey a team order after being promoted to Red Bull. There’s no reason to expect him to obey orders at Red Bull. We know Max won’t for sure. I think this will be next season’s theme for Red Bull.

      About the qualifying margin – was there a single race or a couple of races that skewed the results in Hartley’s favor? I had the impression that Gasly was much quicker than Hartley. If not, this does NOT bode well for Red Bull at all. Red Bull needs great pace in both quali and race.

      1. I’m not sure if anything skewed the result, but I wouldn’t worry about gasly just yet, sometimes qualifying pace is not everything: kvyat post demotion was demolished by sainz in race pace but was up there in qualifying pace, even stroll is a decent race driver but not so fast in qualifying, so bad drivers can equal good drivers in qualifying but not in race pace, if anything gasly had some great qualifyings this year when the car allowed him to do it, hinting the engine might be better in qualifying than race pace, which is what red bull really needs, their race pace was competitive this year, they lacked qualifying.

    14. His attitude on the radio may be like Verstappen’s, but his talent is nowhere near.

      Most over-rated driver in this list. He’s basically a French version of Kvyat, and his career will be no better.

      1. Spot on. RBRs radio will be quite entertaining or very cringe worthy lol

    15. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
      16th December 2018, 7:23

      Gasly is one of the stories I will follow closely next year (like Leclerc and Kubica). I can see his story go two ways: either he’s getting a fair beating from Max and stay quiet or he’ll seriously challenge Max bringing forward immaturity and frustration in both drivers.

      Option two is better tv but also more cringeworthiness. Don’t know yet what I hope for.

    Comments are closed.