(Motorsport-Total.com) – AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly tried a two-stop strategy in the Russian Grand Prix. He wanted to take advantage of the Virtual Safety Car (VSC), but his poker didn’t work out. In the end he can look forward to ninth place. (F1 2020 live in the paddock ticker!)
“Yes, that was a risk,” the Frenchman admitted when asked about his second pit stop. Up to the 42nd race lap he was solidly in ninth place. His first tire change was on lap 18 (from soft to hard). In the middle stint he first had to work his way back into the top 10 in traffic.
“The start of the race was particularly good, I was ahead of Charles. When I look at where he ended up, I think we lost too much time in the middle part of the race because of the duels,” the Monza winner analyzes. “Generally our pace was pretty good.” So he hoped for a little more.
Gasly: ”I was looking forward to the duel for 7th place”
His team believed they saw a chance for a second pit stop on lap 42 when the race management called the VSC to work on the track. At that point, Gasly was on Turn 13 – three corners from the pit lane entrance. “Are we stopping now?” He asked his racing engineer, who said yes.
Before he even got to his stand for the stop, the VSC was lifted again. “If the phase had lasted a little longer, it would have paid off,” Gasly believes in retrospect. “But as soon as I drove in, it turned back to green.”
The timing was “unfortunate,” he admits. The stop pushed him back to eleventh place. On fresh medium tires he attacked Alexander Albon and Lando Norris in front of him over the last ten laps. “Let’s get back what we deserve,” radioed his race engineer.
In an exciting duel between the three young hopefuls, Gasly was able to prevail with two maneuvers worth seeing. He grabbed Red Bull rival Albon at the exit of Turn 12, McLaren driver Norris one lap later in Turn 2.
“The car felt good, there could have been more today.” Gasly admits that he was a little disappointed with ninth place. “I really had the feeling that the pace of the car was better. When I passed Kimi in the second stint, I was able to catch up quickly on Daniel and Ocon. I was looking forward to a nice duel for seventh place in the last laps . “
With two stops he lines up 21 seconds behind his team-mate Daniil Kwjat. The Russian finished eighth in the home game. “To be honest, I’m very happy. That was a tough race, I had to push, which of course I like to do. I had a great first stint and was very strong.”
Chief Engineer: “Should have stopped Pierre earlier”
Kwjat started the race from eleven on the grid, was able to quickly catch up after the safety car phase and, before his first stop, ended up in fourth place due to the competition’s tire changes. On lap 30 he drove to the pits on used hard tires and tackled his second stint with a new medium.
“We were able to implement the strategy, that makes me happy and satisfied with the result and my performance. We did a good job and scored a few points for the team.” With six more points, AlphaTauri is now in seventh place in the World Championship – 15 points behind Ferrari.
“Unfortunately Ferrari scored more points today”, regrets Kwjat, but he is still satisfied with his Sunday. “The pace was there. Hopefully we can continue like this, because I feel more comfortable in the car with every race.”
The team leaders are also generally satisfied with ranks eight and nine. “But we had the feeling that our pace would have been enough to achieve a better result. Even before the race, we expected that the start in the top 10 on the soft would be a disadvantage, which is exactly what we saw with Pierre,” says Jonathan Eddolls, the chief engineer.
As a result, Gasly had to be called to the pits earlier for his first stop, which brought him back on track in traffic. “At that point the tires were still good, but suddenly they fall off. In retrospect, it would have been wiser to get him in a few laps earlier.”
But that would not have changed the end result. “Then the virtual safety car came out, which meant a free stop for fresh tires. The VSC ended much faster than expected, which made our lives a little more difficult. Pierre did a great job catching up both positions Has.”
Tost: “Could have gotten more out of it”
The chief engineer was also satisfied with the pace of Kwjat: “The car had fantastic pace, especially in the first stint when it was free, where it was really fast. After the stop he came out behind Ocon, who was unfortunately faster in the last sector. So we couldn’t get close enough. “
“Our race was moderate,” is how team boss Franz Tost sums up the Russian Grand Prix from his point of view. “I think we could have gotten more out of it.” With 45 points, Gasly is currently the better placed AlphaTauri driver in tenth place in the drivers’ championship, while Kwjat is 14th with 14 points.