AlphaTauri will not be deterred from using harder tyres in Q2 despite Yuki Tsunoda failing to qualify in the top 10 on the medium compound in Bahrain.
AlphaTauri therefore put both of their drivers on the medium compound tyre in Q2 in Bahrain in the hope of gaining a strategic advantage. However only Pierre Gasly made it through to the final stage of qualifying.
Mercedes and Red Bull joined AlphaTauri in opting for the medium compound tyre. Out of the six cars, only Red Bull’s Sergio Perez and AlphaTauri’s Formula 1 debutant Tsunoda failed to make it to Q3.
Nonetheless Gasly and Tsunoda supported the team’s decision to persist with their aggressive qualifying strategy, saying their car is quick enough to make it work.
“Overall, in terms of performance and speed, it is very encouraging for the rest of the season, starting with Imola this weekend,” Gasly said of his 2021 start, having qualified fifth in Bahrain. He started fourth in the 2020 Emilia-Romagna GP.
“From what we saw in Bahrain, it seems we have a package that will allow us to fight for the big points and there is no reason for that not to be the case for the coming races.”
“One example of the team’s confidence was the decision to tackle Q2 at Sakhir on the medium tyre as apart from us, there was only the two Mercedes and Max Verstappen who did it. It was a risk, but it proves our belief in our car and our performance level. Now I hope we will be able to do that again at other circuits.”
Gasly added that the team is “clearly on the pace” right now. While Tsunoda only qualified 13th on the same strategy, he was also encouraged by the AlphaTauri-Honda AT02’s performance and praised the team for giving him the medium tyre in Q2 on his F1 debut.
“In our qualifying in Bahrain, I have no regrets about our strategy, because being committed to trying to get through to Q3 on the medium tyre was a good experience and for the team it was a new challenge to try and use that tyre,” Tsunoda said.
“I learned a lot from that, even if I had expected I could have been higher up the grid with the potential to be top five or top six.”
The same soft, medium and hard compounds will be used at Imola. Tsunoda has racked up test mileage at the track which he says will make it “so I can work in a similar way to what I did in Bahrain” given “I already have confidence in the car in Imola”.
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