Since joining Formula 1 towards the end of the 2017, Pierre Gasly’s 2021 season was easily his most impressive.
But in 2022, Gasly’s hopes that the dramatic new technical regulations would increase opportunities for midfield teams to get in the thick of the fight for the podium failed to materialise. Instead, Gasly endured an often fruitless and frustrating final year at the team for which he has driven the vast majority of his 108 grands prix.
Gasly’s fifth full season in Formula 1 began decently enough. He reached Q3 at the first attempt in Bahrain but became the first driver of the year to retire from a race when his MGU-K failed while on course for points in eighth.
Determined to overcome the early setback, Gasly put on a solid performance in Jeddah, reaching Q3 again despite picking up floor damage in Q1. After suffering the misfortune of pitting at the worst possible time before Nicholas Latifi brought out the Safety Car, Gasly fought his way back into the points to claim eighth place, though a sudden attack of abdominal pain over the final four laps leaving him in severe discomfort.
The limited pace of the AlphaTauri relative to some of its fellow midfield runners meant that points were far harder to come by for Gasly than they had been the year prior. In Miami, Gasly did an excellent job in qualifying to secure seventh on the grid, then absorbed lap after lap of pressure from Fernando Alonso behind in the race until Alonso tagged the rear of Gasly’s car into turn one. After continuing for multiple laps, Gasly suddenly complained of steering problems and fell off the pace before he and Lando Norris collided, ending both their races.
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Gasly’s Monaco Grand Prix weekend was heavily compromised by his team mate Yuki Tsunoda triggering a red flag during Q1. When the session resumed, Gasly was towards the back of the queue for the rush to start a flying lap and missed the line by a single second, being eliminated moments later. Despite starting from 17th, he only just missed out on the points in 11th in the final classification.
At the next round in Baku, Gasly enjoyed what was easily his best weekend of the whole season. Splitting the two Mercedes in qualifying was an achievement in itself, but he held his position first through his opening stint and was running in a brilliant fourth on merit over the final stint. Unfortunately, he lacked a spare set of hard tyres to switch to under a late Virtual Safety Car. While this allowed Lewis Hamilton to hunt him down, Gasly still crossed the line in fifth to secure AlphaTauri’s best result of the season.
Thereafter Gasly’s form suffered a slight dip, and he was well out of points contention in Montreal and the Red Bull Ring. He may have missed out on a chance of points in Silverstone thanks to his team mate Tsunoda, who crashed into him early in the race and damaged his car so badly his team opted to retire him.
Not until after the summer break in Spa did Gasly reach the top 10 again. He put in an superb effort in start from the pit lane and climb all the way up to ninth at the chequered flag, claiming his first points since Baku. In Monza, he overcame an illness heading into the weekend to make his first appearance in Q3 for eight races, following it up with a well-earned ninth on race day. He probably deserved better than tenth at the next race in Singapore, but likely pitted for slicks just a little too early.
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By far Gasly’s lowest point of the season came at Suzuka. His brakes glazed in qualifying, which led to his elimination in Q1. When the race started in sopping wet conditions, he collected a dislodged advertising hoarding in the wall of spray which forced him to pit for a new wing. As he tried to catch the pack up behind the Safety Car, he was shocked to discover a crane on the circuit at the brow of the crest along the run to Spoon Curve.
An FIA investigation would clear him of driving too quickly under the Safety Car, but after passing the accident scene under red flag conditions, he clocked over 250kph along the back straight. Gasly deservedly earned a 20-second time penalty after the race but he was already down in 17th by the chequered flag.
This proved the beginning of a serious problem for Gasly. After falling too far behind the Safety Car in the United States and then overtaking Lance Stroll outside of track limits in Mexico, Gasly had suddenly accrued 10 penalty points on his superlicence – just two away from a race ban. Making matters worse, all ten had been earned since the Spanish Grand Prix, meaning the threat of a ban would hang over him until well into the 2023 F1 season.
Gasly’s last races as an AlphaTauri driver were little to write home about, and his hopes of a final points finish were dashed. He was outperformed by Tsunoda in Mexico but managed to turn the table in Interlagos, finishing 12th before dropping back to 14th after another penalty for speeding in the pit lane. His final race with the team in Abu Dhabi was underwhelming, as he failed to follow Tsunoda through to Q2 then struggled to make progress through the field on a one-stop strategy. He eventually finishing 14th, three places behind his team mate.
With that, Gasly’s time as an AlphaTauri and Red Bull driver had reached its end. A disappointingly muted final season for a driver who had produced one of the team’s best ever seasons just one year prior and contributed a rare victory the season before. However, as Gasly moves to Alpine to start a new chapter of his career, he carries over the unfortunate legacy of his perilous penalty points predicament, which could well disadvantage him and his new team during the early phase of next season.
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10 comments on “2022 F1 driver rankings #14: Pierre Gasly”
13th December 2022, 18:22
Easily Gasly’s worst season in F1. Without a shadow of a doubt. His lowest scoring season and Gasly basically declined to Tsunoda’s level this season. Bit of both actually.
14th December 2022, 7:47
Yes, Alpine should be worried about their choice. Not a game changer this fellow.
14th December 2022, 13:26
The car was terrible and Gasly was sick and tired of the Team. You know what he is capable of when he has a decent car and motivation. So don’t tell that nonsense
14th December 2022, 14:07
Perhaps Ronny but it must concern you that he’s had a noticeable drop off in form as soon as a team are not 100% behind him.
I thought Gasly was superb in 2020 and 2021 – but he had a poor end to this year.
15th December 2022, 13:49
I mean.. Alpine has Ocon as their lead driver. Clearly, a quality driver line up is not on their agenda. Gasly should fit in fine there.
14th December 2022, 7:53
+1 Gasly was very bad this year and 2 spots above Yuki was too kind for Gasly. He made too much mistakes (driving to fast under red flag is 1 of those mistakes) If Yuki could extract some performance in the beginning then Gasly should have too but he didn’t….
Against Ocon I don’t hold Ocon very high so i think Gasly could do well at Alpine.
13th December 2022, 22:34
I wasn’t impressed at all by his constant whining, it got old fast.
Dan Rooke (@geekzilla9000)
14th December 2022, 7:56
Gasly is a driver I’m very conflicted about. 2021 was an incredible season for him and he looked like a driver who was regularly out-performing his car (reminiscent to an extent of Leclerc when he was in the Sauber), he looked like a driver who deserved to jump into Perez’s seat while it was still warm.
This year the car wasn’t as competitive, but worse than that – Gasly didn’t seem it either. Over the course of the season he never projected the image of someone who was dragging the car into positions other drivers would struggle to achieve. I will watch his 2023 campaign with interest, it feels like do-or-die time for Gasly’s F1 career, which is something I didn’t expect top be saying during 2021 where he was a bit of superstar.
14th December 2022, 13:28
Gasly was so done at AT and had a terrible car.. He might be best of the Rest again net season if the Alpine builds a good car.
14th December 2022, 15:04
A wasted season. Bad car, lacking interest, looking for a way out that finally came.
It’s understandable. He will bounce back next season.
Comments are closed.