Pierre Gasly, Red Bull, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2019

Gasly says he’s been fast but not at the “right times”

2019 F1 season

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Pierre Gasly says he’s shown he can be quick in the Red Bull but needs to deliver in the most important parts of the weekend.

The Red Bull newcomer was lapped by his team mate Max Verstappen during the Austrian Grand Prix. Gasly admitted he failed to deliver during Q3, which left him struggling in traffic during the race.

“We showed some more speed, unfortunately not at the right time because it was free practice and you want to be fast Saturday afternoon and Sunday afternoon,” he said.

“But overall I think FP1, FP2, also qualifying one, qualifying two, there are improvements. For sure they are not as big as we want for sure but there are a few things and we’ll keep pushing until we get what we should get and I’ll keep working until I get the performance right.”

Gasly started the race from eighth position and finished in seventh place. “I struggled with the traffic at the beginning and spent quite a lot of time there,” he said. “[There was] a kind of snowball effect the more time we spend behind the hotter everything gets and the harder it becomes. I struggled a bit with that to get past Kimi [Raikkonen] and the cars around.

“[After] the pit stop I pushed too hard, destroyed the front tyres after a few laps and then I just struggled with blistering. It wasn’t the best management on my side so it made the afternoon quite [hard].”

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54 comments on “Gasly says he’s been fast but not at the “right times””

  1. Lee H (@stopitrawr)
    9th July 2019, 8:35

    This is like a tennis player saying they’re great right up until they face an opponent.

    Practice means nothing. If you can’t deliver when you need to, you fail.

  2. He hears the clock ticking…

    1. It might be the Tag Heuer watch.

  3. It’s always hard to tell how good a driver is until they get put up against a benchmark. I thought Kimi was great in 2013, but Alonso obliterated him. I thought Ricciardo was right up there with the very best, then Verstappen got into his stride last year finally.

    Gasly looked very promising last year with some impressive results. But his only benchmark being Hartley makes It hard to gauge, and even a driver like Stroll manages some fortunate results.

    Right now he’s costing Red Bull the chance at third, I don’t see what they have to lose giving one of the Toro Rosso drivers a chance.

    1. Chance at second…

      The lack of edit for comments will be the death of me

      1. @philipgb And BTW, it was 2014 when they were teammates at Ferrari, not ’13.

        1. @jerejj I don’t think @philipgb made a mistake there: in 2013 Raikkonen indeed seemed great, but not in 2014 as Alonso obliterated him in 2014.

          1. @matthijs @philipgb I guess the wording gave a slightly misleading impression to me interpreting it as ‘Kimi was great/decent during their single-season together as teammates, and yet still got obliterated.’

        2. @jerejj

          Yep I know. 2013 at lotus be seemed great, switched to Ferrari and got destroyed

          1. Kimi also got destroyed by Vettel, who is not the most fearsome teammate to have anymore, as Leclerc clearly shows this season.

          2. Your choice of using Kimi as a reference to place other drivers abilities is interesting. I believe in all those comparisons we tend forget four factors : comfort with the car, motivation, experience with the team and age (ability decline)

            Raikonnen for me was one of the better drivers during his Mc Laren years. He is more experienced now but arguably not as sharp.
            2012 and 13 is interesting. He oblitared Grosjean until his head wasn’t there anymore (and his pay didn’t arrive) and suddenly he fell behind Grosjean with all other factors unchanged. BTW this period saw a superb Grosjean emerge (Grosjean to Ferrari rumours anyone?)
            It’s hard to understand how Kimi at the end of last year was equal or better than Vettel other than by looking at Vettel’s own motivation and Kimi’s comfort with the car.

            So I’d say no driver ability is definite. As for poor Gasly, comparing him to Verstappen who is in any case massively talented, comfortable with the car, motivated and in the form of his life could be tricky if himself is uncomfortable with the car, demotivated and lost in a new team.

          3. I’d agree Gasly’s comment is utter tosh though

      2. @philipgb While it’s hard to argue against the fact that Gasly should be doing better by now, let’s say we should have at least given him some number of initial races to get more accustomed to the car and team, as any relative rookie driver new to the team would, just as a replacement for Gasly at this point would.

        Right now RBR is third in the WCC about 60 points back of Ferrari with Mac way far away in fourth. So like last year they seem in a sole third position likely unable to change that nor be surpassed. In the WDC chase Max, the phenom, is between the Ferraris but Gasly is actually sixth which is about right…two Mercs and two Ferraris and one Red Bull ahead of him. Based on those numbers, and the chance that a bit more time will see the team along with Gasly sort some things out, I can understand Horner’s (for now) words of patience and nurturing and not replacing him but rather helping him.

        1. @robbie, the thing is, with the difference in performance between the top three teams and the rest of the field, sixth is the bare minimum that Gasly should be delivering, and even then he is failing to deliver that regularly.

          If we were to say that Gasly should be delivering regular 6th place finishes as a minimum then, allowing for his one DNF due to mechanical failure, he should have eight 6th place finishes, giving him 64 points (each 6th being worth 8 points). OK, the difficulties in overtaking around Melbourne may reduce that target due to the mistakes by the team, but he’s still short of the minimum points haul he should have right now.

          Being in 6th in the WDC is meeting the minimum expectation of him, but it is the fact that he is a lot closer to the midfield pack than he should be that is the problem – he should be more like 30-40 points clear, not just 13 points clear, and he’s scored about two thirds of what you would expect him to achieve as a basic minimum for his seat.

          Furthermore, were it not for Ricciardo’s time penalty in France, Gasly would have twice finished with a perfectly healthy car out of the points on two occasions already this year. Similarly, he has now been lapped by his team mate twice in successive races, despite having a car that had no mechanical issues – also a standard of driving that is below where he would be expected to be right now.

          Given the common consensus about where Red Bull are in the pecking order, right now Gasly is falling a long way short of that – this is the third race in a row where he has been beaten by teams that are perceived to be slower than Red Bull, and often he has been beaten by multiple drivers from those teams.

          It’s not just that he has been behind Verstappen, but it is the sheer size of the gulf between himself and Verstappen in the races. In China, he was over 40s behind Verstappen before that late pit stop for a fastest lap attempt, and in Bahrain there was a similar gap before the late safety car – in fact, in pretty much every single race that has run under normal conditions, Gasly hasn’t managed to finish within 30 seconds of Verstappen.

          We have seen drivers who have been closer to their team mates who have been hammered for worse performances – indeed, although you tend to be more sympathetic to a number of drivers, even you have sometimes criticised drivers for being more competitive against their team mates than Gasly has been this season.

          Similarly, when you consider how most people view Red Bull – as generally the second or third fastest team – being beaten by teams that are seen as only 4th or 5th fastest on the grid, and at times when those teams are either on comparable, or worse, strategies than Gasly is meant to be on, means that he is falling a long way short of the standards that are expected of him right now.

          Even in the WCC, that gap between Ferrari and Red Bull of 59 points would only be 38 points if Gasly had scored the minimum 6th place that you would expect him to in every race this season that he could have finished. Equally, in recent races the trend seems to have been for Gasly’s performance to have deteriorated – 9th in qualifying in two successive races, and ending up being even further behind his team mate than he had been in previous races. It would be one thing if he was at least showing signs of improvement, but if anything his performance has seen him getting further and further off the pace.

          That said, whilst you talk about Horner offering “words of patience and nurturing” in public, the attitude from the team behind the scenes doesn’t seem to be quite as supportive. It’s been noted that Gasly’s team of engineers seem to be less experienced than those on Verstappen’s side of the garage, which probably doesn’t help him with his set up issues, and there have been times when the team have prepared cars with different specifications as well (such as AMuS claiming that Gasly’s car was stripped for spare new parts when Verstappen crashed in the practise sessions in Austria, with Gasly getting older specification parts fitted to his car).

          1. @anon Fair comment.

        2. Max is ahead of both Ferraris, not in between them.
          This shows that they are not fighting for second exactly because of the underperforming Gasly, so I think the fact that they are not fighting for second is not really an argument to keep him.

        3. If you take any comments from drivers/team principals about other people for more than PR speak at best, you’re wrong. They are never going to say anything obviously negative about other people.

          If Horner straight up said that Ghasly sucked and they were looking for a replacement, Ghasly would be doing even worse and Horner would gain nothing by doing that.

    2. @philipgb I have my doubts Kvyat (or Albon) could do any better in that car compared to how Gasly has fared thus far. It isn’t safe to assume that they’d automatically do better without any valid evidence to fully support that, and a change during a season does have its risks as well, so RBR indeed could have something to lose by doing so.

      1. @jerejj Albon is having a similar impressive season with Toro Rosso this year as Gasly had last year, but he is even more inexperienced. Trading Gasly with Albon so soon will be the end of two careers.

      2. @jerejj

        Verstappen is on 126 points, McLaren are on 52. Red Bull could run one car for the rest of the season and still take 3rd place. I don’t see the risk they have letting anyone else take the other seat for the rest of the season while there is such a gulf between the top 3 teams and the rest of the field. The risk in keeping him though is that the slim chance they have of taking 2nd in the championship is lost.

        1. @philipgb Good point.

    3. I think RIC is up there, pretty close to the best. He beat VET. In my opinion, he’s obviously more than tier2 material, like Coulthard, Barrichello, Button, Massa, Bottas etc. It’s just that he never got a title contender car OR he doesn’t have any WDCs. But I strongly believe he’s at least 1 WDC material. Those dive-bombs are not part of the arsenal of a tier2 driver, for sure. But VER kinda seems something else indeed, probably we’re very lucky he’s not racing for Mercedes, otherwise domination might get a new meaning.

      1. patrick myrvang
        10th July 2019, 7:10

        RIC beat VET in 2014.. but Kvyat beat Danny in 2015. I dont see what makes Ricciardo such a special driver, and he is highly overrated in my opinion.

      2. agreed that RIC is not tier 2 material, but everybody knows I’m a big fan of him. Definately better than Button who is a 1 time WDC… But I gotta admit that he kind of ran away from RBR and especially Max, mainly because he realised that the dutchman, when he finally got his stuff together last season, was almost unbeatable in the same car.

  4. Gasly says he’s been fast but not at the “right times”

    LOL. What? – only after the race on his way home he means? ;P

    1. I think he means he’s fast to catering, first in line for beans?

  5. Pierre, sometimes it’s just better to not say anything…

    1. My girlfriends used to say that after beeing too fast at ‘not the right times’.

      1. @alexde hahaha, excelent

  6. He’s basically saying he’s been fast only when it did not matter?
    He would better avoid those statements for his own good.

  7. I kinda feel for Gasly.

    New to the RBR car and up against Max in a car that’s been designed around Max’s driving style.

    BUT he needs to rapidly get on top of his race day performances – he’s showing pace over 1 or 2 laps but his full race pace seems to be way off.

    Pressure on him, must be enormous but as they say, cream rises and he’s not doing that

    1. @dbradock Agreed

      I recall saying at the end of last season that I thought Gasly could be a thorn in Max’s side. How wrong I was.

      Red Bull has made it clear that Max is their boy but even the second driver has to be able to stay close enough to help out. :(

    2. I’m not even sure the car was built tot suit Max’s driving style. I think I remember he complained a lot at the beginning of the season about lack of balance and other issues.

  8. It looks terrible his performances. But in any case, whatever excuse he has, end result is he was lapped in the same car. Kimi was not lapped many times by Alonso right?

    Why don’t RedBull sign Alonso actually? I heard he is free on the end of the season?

    1. No one wants to sign Alonso. He burned all his bridges and even Mclaren does not need him any longer.
      Maybe if he brings (a lot of) money some teams will be interested.

      1. I certainly understand the comment about Alonso burning bridges, but I also don’t believe Alonso would be interested in coming back unless he felt it was a Championship contending car. And don’t put too much weight (although it certainly deserves considering) the burnt bridges effect. If a team believes a driver gives them a chance at winning, they are interested.

    2. @jureo
      Hell must freeze over before Alonso will ever drive a Honda powered car again

      1. I thought much the same about him and McLaren at the end of 2007…

    3. I would love to see Alonso replace Gasly, but will Honda take him back…?

  9. Nothing against Gasly, but he has completely detached himself from reality… I don’t think anyone expected him to match (or outmatch) Max and I understand he needed some time to get used to the car, but we’re already halfway through the season and such excuses are ridiculous. So far he hasn’t indicated this is going to change. Even if RB do let him finish the season I doubt they’ll let him stay next year – he really needs to do something exceptional to keep his seat, but I’m not too sure he will.

    1. @jjlehto Not quite. One full race to go before the halfway point of the season, which occurs midway through the German GP, but I agree with you on the situation itself nevertheless.

  10. …that’s what she said

  11. Derek Edwards
    9th July 2019, 12:52

    With all the lift-and-coast and tyre management these days I thought it was all about being slow at the right times. Now I’m really confused…

  12. That’s like saying a Prius is faster than a LaFerrari when the Prius is doing 30 and the Enzo is doing 25. While correct, it means absolutely nothing!

    You’ve got to deliver when it matters!

  13. To be fair, it was more important for Gasly to be fast in Q2 than in Q3. If he was, he could have started on the preferred medium tyre compound on Sunday and attack in the second half of the race.

  14. Electroball76
    9th July 2019, 14:04

    it’s not usually like this I swear!

  15. Josh (@canadianjosh)
    9th July 2019, 14:33

    His comments are difficult to digest considering he isn’t fast when it counts and has admitted it. I’m pretty sure we all know what his pace compared to Max’s is and Silverstone will only show that more as it is a high speed racers racetrack where a mistake will cost you a lot in qualifying.

  16. I love it. Keep nagging Gasly, he will be destroyed after this.

  17. Verstappen has a terrible start and dropped back behind Gastly momentarily and needed to fight through the traffic in order to catch up to where he was. This alone disproves his traffic theory, what he’s effectively saying is that he struggles to make a pass…

    Most drivers going from a B team to a primary team show an immediate improvement, especially over the first couple of races with the better team. Gastly has failed to do this, Kvyat managed to show an improvement going from Torro Rosso into RBR (using a driver with the same level of F1 experience as Gasly), Verstappen clearly showed his ability, as did Ricciardo (last season would have been more balanced had DR not been plagued with the mechanical issues in the 2nd half of last season)… I seriously think that Gastly’s RBR days are numbered and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him replaced at RBR with a more competent driver.

  18. Gasly mate, that’s the most important bit. You have to be fast in the race, that’s crucial to the whole thing. Qualifying is important but you have to be fast there too.

    Practice is just that…not many people are looking at your times there, you don’t score points and it doesn’t get you track position.

    Unless he delivers a good race (or race win) by August I can’t see him being there when we get back after the break. Not sure it’s right but that is not my choice that is how Red Bull operate whether I like it or not.

  19. He probably means that he is really fast in non-F1 related things, such as when going to the take a s…t or fast in eating burgers or going for the last ferrero rocher in the Red Bull hospitality. lol

  20. I feel for Gasly, but he wont be there next season.
    Can’t really see any Red Bull backed driver that could compete with Max, so why not make a huge play for Ocon? He aint getting a Merc seat any time soon.

    1. Max and Ocon, after Brazil last year, in the same team? That would be worth seeing

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