Pierre Gasly has been shown the door by Red Bull after just 12 races. How did it go so wrong so quickly?
The words of his team principal Christian Horner over the season so far reveal how it only took 20 weeks for Gasly’s dream drive to fall apart.
“Only one season with Toro Rosso, he’s been promoted perhaps a little earlier than we would have ideally liked but there is never a perfect time. You’ve got to grab that opportunity which he now has.
“He’ll have the full support of the team behind him. Of course we’ve known him for quite a few years already as a member of the junior program so he knows how we operate and what’s expected of him.”
Qualifying: 17th (Verstappen: 4th)
Race: 11th (Verstappen: 3rd)
“After a difficult day yesterday his recovery was strong today. He raced very hard. He was competitive in the race at a track where it’s very hard to overtake at. It was a shame he didn’t get a point out of it but his time will come.”
Qualifying: 13th (Verstappen: 5th)
Race: 8th (Verstappen: 4th)
“Today will have been a good boost of confidence for him. He’s raced competitively, he’s raced hard, he’s had to overtake quite a few cars today and been competitive in the second half of the race. I think he can take a lot out of this weekend and carry that into future races.”
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Qualifying: 6th (Verstappen: 5th)
Race: 6th (Verstappen: 4th)
“I think he’s made a step forward this weekend. I think he’s still not totally comfortable within the car at the moment, not from a physical fitting. He’s in the process of needing to refine his style to optimise the best from the car, the characteristics of the car. And he’s making progress with that. I think it’s obviously proving to be a challenge for him but he’s making progress and the fastest lap at the end of the race there will give him a bit of confidence as well.”
Qualifying: 20th (Verstappen: 4th)
Race: DNF (Verstappen: 4th)
“Whilst he doesn’t have the result on paper I think he’s pretty happy with his weekend. In Q1 he was quick, Friday he was quick, he’s driven a good race and should have been an easy P6 today from the pit lane which is a really strong drive. I think even more encouragingly than that his pace, certainly compared to a Ferrari on the same strategy, he was definitely quicker than. So I think a lot of positives for Pierre out of this weekend.
“I think the confidence that came out of China came into Azerbaijan and I think even though he doesn’t have the result to show it he knows it’s been a much stronger weekend for him.”
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Qualifying: 6th (Verstappen: 4th)
Race: 6th (Verstappen: 3rd)
“Pierre had another strong race, however he picked up some debris about half way through the race which got lodged in his front wing and cost him quite a bit of performance. All things considered, it was a very strong race again from him and he brought the team more important points.”
Qualifying: 8th (Verstappen: 3rd)
Race: 5th (Verstappen: 4th)
“Pierre really made a great recovery having got the penalty yesterday and starting in P8. He kept his head, was quick when he had clear track and managed to move up the order.”
Qualifying: 5th (Verstappen: 9th)
Race: 8th (Verstappen: 5th)
“With Pierre we tried to get the undercut on Daniel during the pit stop, we nearly made it, but he unfortunately got stuck behind Stroll which pretty much ended his race, allowing Hulkenberg to sneak ahead.”
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Qualifying: 9th (Verstappen: 4th)
Race: 10th (Verstappen: 4th)
“On the hard tyre Pierre just didn’t have any pace and slipped down the order. Finishing P11 is frustrating as we are outside the points, so we will check everything on his car to ensure there are no hidden issues.”
A post-race penalty for Daniel Ricciardo promoted Gasly to the final points place.
Qualifying: 8th (Verstappen: 2nd)
Race: 7th (Verstappen: 1st)
“Pierre’s having a tough time at the moment. We’re doing our very best to support him. I think he just needs a reset. We know what he is capable of. I think we just somehow have got to go ‘Control-Alt-Delete’ in his head and start again. He’s a quick driver. The problem he’s got is obviously Max is delivering every week and that puts more pressure obviously on him to performance. But we’re sticking by him, we still believe in him and we’ll give him all the support that we can to try and nurture the talent that we know he has.”
Qualifying: 5th (Verstappen: 4th)
Race: 4th (Verstappen: 5th)
“I think Pierre has done a very good job all weekend. Turning the page from Austria, that was a really tough weekend for him. I think coming here, just focusing on what he’s doing, not worrying about what his team mate’s doing and just getting back to basics, he’s been like a different driver all weekend. From the first session he’s been competitive. He’s built on that in [second practice], in all three elements of qualifying he was competitive. And the race again here he passed Vettel early in the race, he was racing hard with Leclerc. I thought he drove very well today.”
Qualifying: 4th (Verstappen: 2nd)
Race: 14th (Verstappen: 1st)
“It’s a bit up and down. I mean he had a strong qualifying. He had a difficult first pit stop. There was a problem with the right-rear wheel nut. And then they had to hold him because the whole queue of cars came in. But then he recovered well and he was recovering, recovering, recovering and then on the last restart he passed Vettel but then went wide on three consecutive laps at turn one and that’s where the other cars got past him. And then obviously racing with Albon they tripped over each other which was frustrating because it was a good opportunity today to take a lot of points out of Ferrari. So instead of taking 20-odd points out of them we’ve only taken seven or eight.”
Gasly in fact spun three times in four laps at turn one.
Qualifying: 6th (Verstappen: 1st)
Race: 6th (Verstappen: 2nd)
“It’s been a frustrating weekend for Pierre. The start wasn’t great, the first lap wasn’t great and we shouldn’t be racing Saubers and McLarens. We need him to be racing Ferraris and Mercedes. Everything we can do to try and help them achieve that is what we’ll do.
“Our intention is to leave him in the car to the end of the year. But we desperately need to see him realising more of the potential of the car.”
Quotes: Dieter Rencken
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