Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri, Zandvoort, 2021

Gasly was “really on the edge” in Q3 lap for surprise fourth place

2021 Dutch Grand Prix

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Pierre Gasly said he was “extremely happy” to take what he described as “our pole position” after securing fourth on the grid for the Dutch Grand Prix.

Gasly will line up on the second row ahead of the Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jnr.

Despite showing consistent pace throughout all three phases in qualifying, Gasly admits that he did not expect to extract so much speed out of his AlphaTauri heading into the session.

“I’m extremely happy to qualify in fourth behind the two Mercedes and behind Max [Verstappen],” says Gasly. “For us it’s like our pole position, let’s say. Especially because it hasn’t been an easy weekend until now.

“Going into quali, we were not that confident about our pace. We just managed to find some extra time just now in this session and we were always very competitive. So I’m extremely happy to qualify fourth.”

Gasly says neither he nor the team can explain the reason for their impressive pace around the Zandvoort circuit which led to him equalling his best starting position of the season so far.

“Honestly, at the moment, we can’t explain,” Gasly says. “Especially in front of the two Ferraris – they looked extremely, extremely strong. But from Q1, I felt very good in the car straight away.

“We’re always very competitive, but it’s not an easy track, Zandvoort. Nobody knew in Formula 1 how it will be. So we played a bit with the set-up, trying to find some direction. And I’m really pleased that overall as a team, we managed to do a very, very strong job. One part of the job done, and then obviously we have tomorrow, but we put ourselves in the best position possible.”

After Formula 1’s first qualifying session around the Zandvoort circuit since 1985, Gasly revealed he tackled the challenging Scheivlak corner flat-out on his final lap.

“Honestly, it was insane,” he says. “Especially like the lap in Q3, I was really on the edge. I had a big snap in turn seven in the high-speed, went through there flat-out for the last lap. You overheat the tyre so I knew I will pay the price after that.

“Out of turn 10, same, with a lot of snaps. I arrived a bit sideways to 11 and 12 and same in the last corner, a big snap in the middle. So it was just very on the edge.

“I think it’s been a long time since I’ve enjoyed driving an F1 car like really on the edge on such a track. It’s just amazing.”

However Gasly is wary of the threat from the Ferraris behind in Sunday’s race.

“I think in our position it will be important to just have a very good eye on what’s happening. And obviously Ferrari have two cars behind us. They can play something with us or push us towards one strategy.

“As always, we’ve got to be fast. And if you have the pace, then you can defend yourself and you can attack. So that will be the most important. But from our position we are in the best position possible, that’s the most important.”

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2021 Dutch Grand Prix

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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13 comments on “Gasly was “really on the edge” in Q3 lap for surprise fourth place”

  1. Same as Hamilton said basically going really to the edge to extract the maximum out of the car. Something Bottas and Verstappen don’t seem to be able to do.

    1. Yeah this Verstappen guy really has trouble extracting pace from his car…

      1. Well yeah in qualifying he rarely extracts the maximum.

    2. This is a joke, verstappen has been outperforming hamilton this year, or do you also disagree with keith’s (and pretty much everyone’s ranking)? Consensus is verstappen 1st, hamilton 3rd-4th for the first half.

      1. @esploratore1 That’s because Verstappen has had a car that has been well faster than Merc’s car. He had well over half a second over Mercedes in FP3 and yet he got pole by only 4 hundredths.

        The obvious fact is that Verstappen isn’t that good at delivering the perfect quali lap.

        We have seen Verstappen mess up quali laps over and over this season. He has the car advantage that he gets away with it sometimes (especially since the France engine uphgrade), but he keeps setting his fastest lap at the wrong time (Spain, Monaco, Baku), or not get a fast lap in at all when it matters (Imola, Baku, Silverstone, Hungary), loses pole due to track limits (Portimao) or when he gets pole he should have been much further ahead with the car advantage he has (Spa, Zandvoort and Hungary really)

        So in Zandvoort the same again. He messed up turn 3 with wheelspin with the knock on effect on the “straight” after that going in in a higher gear. He had 2 yellow sectors in that last attempt when he should have been a couple of tenths faster as the track had improved. And no it’s not the few hundredths he lost due to a DRS issues.

        Verstappen can be fast indeed, but somehow he seems to crumble quite often in Q3 when it really matters.

  2. George also did some awesome laps.. Until his last lap was not that awesome anymore.

    Track is really a proper challange, Jenson Button said that was more exciting to watch, than when he was driving the car..

    Well it certainly got my heart racing, especially. Gasly, Russel, and others.

    I hope it does not rain and cancel the race tomorrow.

  3. Great qualifying

  4. I really hope next years cars level the field a bit, and of course make it easier to follow and pass. The talent pool in F1 right now is as deep as its ever been.

    1. Agree about the driver depth available; it seems to be very deep right now.

  5. Gasly at Alpha Tauri is a more effective number two than Perez right now.

    I don’t think it would work for him if he went back but RB should throw some serious cash at AT to keep him in play. Although he can’t be involved in team orders, with a few extra tenths he could be hassling Bottas.

    1. In race trim, the AT will not be anywhere near the Mercedes, but yes, not for the first time this season, Gasly has outshined Perez in the senior team. It’s pretty clear that RB is all in for Max only. If they actually cared about the second seat, Perez would have been let go.

    2. Absolutely true, gasly is doing great all season.

  6. Big congrats to Gasly on getting the job done.

    Notable mention to Latifi for finishing 5th in Q1, thats phenomenal. Williams has definitely upped their game.

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