Gasly laments AlphaTauri’s “shocking” pace after failing to score from front row start

2021 Qatar Grand Prix

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Pierre Gasly was mystified by his loss of pace in the Qatar Grand Prix as he failed to score after starting on the front row of the grid.

AlphaTauri had both cars in points positions early in the race but failed to add to their championship tally. Gasly lost second place to out to Fernando Alonso at the second corner and fell down the order steadily across the 57 laps.

“Our pace was shocking, basically,” said Gasly after finished 11th. “At the moment we don’t really have the answer.

“We tried to stick with Fernando for the first few laps, I could barely make it. And then after that, we tried to go for an aggressive two-stop strategy but the pace was never there. It was shocking.”

Gasly believes the car’s performance rather than the team’s strategy was to blame. “I tried to push as hard as I could in the car and even with fresher tyres than Fernando I was miles away when he was on used tyres. It was so frustrating.”

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Losail International Circuit, 2021
Gasly started alongside winner Hamilton
“I don’t understand how we can be that slow during the race,” Gasly continued. “We need to review everything. We changed the front wing and floor after yesterday’s incident in quali, I don’t know if it had an impact.

“We used the medium tyres in quali that we used again in the race, so they were not brand new. I don’t know if that an impact but we need to review everything because even pushing really hard on the tyre the lap times were never there today.”

AlphaTauri’s one-lap pace in qualifying flattered them, Gasly believes. “When we pushed we overheated the front really quickly and put so much energy in the tyre we were sliding. So apparently over one lap we can take it but the whole race distance was difficult.

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“Even on brand new tyres, on the first lap when we’re pushing flat-out, still even my lap times were not that great, so. Today was anything. We could have done five stops – three, two, one, it doesn’t matter, honestly. It was a question of pace.”

Rivals Alpine claimed a podium finish and bumper haul of 25 points, drawing well clear in their contest for fifth in the championship.

“Alpine surprised us in more than than one way this weekend,” Gasly admitted. “Already the qualifying pace was was impressive, their race pace was really impressive. But I think today was the most impressive performance they have done.

“To go from Brazil, where they were, to here Fernando is on the podium, is just unbelievable. So I don’t know what they’ve found. But this is massive, they were in front of McLaren, in front of Ferrari and it didn’t happen many times this year for them.”

AlphaTauri would “need a couple of miracles in the last few weekends,” Gasly said, in order to make any fight back for fifth place in the constructors’ title. “Obviously we can’t do [that] every weekend, but definitely today I don’t understand [how] both cars can qualify like that, in the top 10 and having good pace and both go backwards during the entire race and just not show any signs of speed.”

Gasly admitted it was “very frustrating, when we see where the Alpines finished.

“But at the end of the day, we just need to be objective with ourselves. And they did a much better job than we did and we can just congratulate them.”

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2021 Qatar 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...
Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a freelance journalist who roams the paddocks of Formula E, covering the technical and emotional elements of electric racing. Usually found at...

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10 comments on “Gasly laments AlphaTauri’s “shocking” pace after failing to score from front row start”

  1. His strategy ultimately cost him not only a podium chance, but even a decent or lower-top ten points finish.

    1. @jerejj
      The team had no other choice than to put Gasly on a 2-stopper, because he was falling further and further behind and would’ve definitely fallen behind Ocon and Sainz, if he kept on going on the softs.
      Ultimately, Alpha Tauri got it wrong on Saturday by not putting at least one of their drivers on the mediums in Q2. Their single lap pace would’ve been strong enough to make it through to the top 10, considering Sainz made the cut as well.
      They already knew they were on the back in terms of race pace after the long runs on Friday. Which makes their tyre choices even more difficult to understand.

  2. This is hardly surprising is it? Gasly does not deliver enough on Sundays. His lack of stability still disqualifies him for a RedBull seat imho. Not for a second I have thought he would convert 2nd place into a good result. It literally never crossed my mind.

    1. Gasly does not deliver enough on Sundays.

      Are you high? Gasly’s average finishing position this year, excluding DNFs, is 7.4, while Tsunoda’s is 12.1. To be finishing 7th, on average, with a car that’s clearly not on pace with the Ferrari and McLaren is very respectable.

    2. Remember Brazil and Mexico – Gasly has been on a roll in these races. I was really worried for Alpine. But things just turned on their head for AlphaTauri in Qatar, which is why Gasly is mystified.

  3. What are you rambling about ? Gasly had tremendous results for the last 2 years both in qualiy and races… He alone put for a moment the alpha tauri in 5th place in the championship and he is basically destroying his teammate in every sessions.

    Obviously, the AT is a better car in qualy than in race as it has the ability to overuse the tire (good for qualy, not for races), and I’m not saying that Gasly is perfect. But overall he is doing great.

    As for RB, it’s not really working better for Albon, nor for Perez (with all his experience)… Considering that these 2 had considerably more support than Gasly at RedBull (Gasly was already facing internal negativity after 1 crash in winter testing, way to go to integrate a young driver. Obviously Horner needed a scapegoat, as always) I think it’s fair to say that the issue is not on the driver side.

    1. HAL

      Obviously, the AT is a better car in qualy than in race as it has the ability to overuse the tire (good for qualy, not for races), and I’m not saying that Gasly is perfect. But overall he is doing great.

      It’s about accurate.

      Considering that these 2 had considerably more support than Gasly at RedBull (Gasly was already facing internal negativity after 1 crash in winter testing, way to go to integrate a young driver. Obviously Horner needed a scapegoat, as always) I think it’s fair to say that the issue is not on the driver side.

      But you’re simply trying to portrait Marko as villain here, and granted, Red Bull failed to provide a good support for him, but there’s also the fact that Gasly was going backwards up to mid-season. Even with appropriate support, maybe Red Bull just wasn’t the right enviroment for him to flourish, due the pressure of going directly against Verstappen. For an imperfect but maybe relevant comparision, just look at Ocon relative to Alonso at Alpine. He’s delivering at a regular basis and clearly holding on his feet against a two-times world champion definitively back to his old best. Of course they look a solid team now, but had Ocon failed to take the initiative when Alonso was still not up to speed, and later had become not so useful for the team, I doubt there would be that much team spirit at Enstone.
      Gasly is leading AlphaTauri’s interests on track almost by himself, so in that sense he’s emulating what Verstappen did to him. But it’s also, and crucially, given motorsports’ reality, Tsunoda’s fault. It might look harsh but in the end of the day it matters more than beautiful words and supporting messages in this business.

      Reply moderated
  4. Letting #44 go through T1 unchallenged is a shame that will haunt you for the rest of your life, Pierre. Don’t get used to it.

    1. hyoko

      Letting #44 go through T1 unchallenged is a shame that will haunt you for the rest of your life, Pierre. Don’t get used to it.

      Others said he let Max go easily so everybody will have something to complain. Of course he will be called to help in something the title contender from its sister team, nothing wrong with that actually. But Gasly was putting his and AT interests first at the start of the race. He blocked Alonso from getting a tow behind Hamilton and possibly making T1 on the lead of the race because they’re fighting tooth and nail for 5th place in the WCC. He shouldn’t put the WDC fight this season above his own team, should he?

      Reply moderated
  5. Letting #44 go through T1 unchallenged is a shame that will haunt you for the rest of your life, Pierre. You’ll try to get used to it, but fail.

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