Pierre Gasly is determined to deliver to his AlphaTauri crews a strong home race on Sunday after clocking in an impressive fourth in qualifying for the Emilia Romagna GP.
After enjoying a trouble-free practice session, Gasly breezed through the Saturday afternoon segments with ease, concluding Q3 ‘best of the rest’ and ahead of an incredibly tight midfield, with less than half a second separating P4 from Carlos Sainz’s position in P10.
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“I must say I felt good all day long, practice was good,” said the Frenchman. “We made small changes for qualifying which improved the car.
“I managed to put in some strong laps, drive the way I wanted to equal my best qualifying ever in F1. Pretty pleased with that, yeah.”
Asked whether the confirmation earlier this week of his future in F1 with AlphaTauri had brought him a peace of mind that helped his performance, Gasly admitted the announcement was old news to him.
“I must admit I’ve known the decision since quite a while, and I don’t really feel it has changed so much,” said this year’s Italian GP winner.
“But I must say I’m really happy with the way we’re working with the engineers. They provide me with a very strong car every weekend.
“I think we managed to get even more out of it at the moment, knowing the package a bit better. I’m feeling good at the moment.
“The car worked well, Dany was also in Q3, it’s been a good weekend so far for us so hopefully we can finish great tomorrow.”
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Gasly also downplayed the impact of AlphaTauri running at Imola earlier this year, when it shook down its 2020 contender at the track.
“I would say obviously we take it, it was a nice decision to come here,” he said. “But it was 15 laps far from from the pace we had to go to today. So it was not really representative, but it was good to have the first idea of the track layout and kerbs.
“I will say it’s a probably a mix of many things. The car has been feeling good straight away out of the box in practice.
“We carried over the findings from Portimao, and the last few races, and the package seems to work well on this track.
“So today was no wind at all, and we know the car in this condition seems to work quite well. And we’ve managed to put some good laps in practice. Every qualifying Q1, Q2, Q3 as well.
“It was a very tight battle between everybody, but we managed to come out on top.”
Gasly’s teammate Dany Kvyat will line up 8th on Sunday’s grid, the Russian securing his best result year-to-date.
With AlphaTauri’s Faenza base located at a stone’s throw from Imola, the Emilia Romagna GP will have a special significance for the team’s personnel. Starting the race with both its cars in the top ten bodes well for the Italian outfit.
“We’re literally like 15kms from the factory,” said Gasly.
“It’s obviously a very important one for all the guys in the garage and I really hope we can put in a strong performance. Italy seems to treat us quite well for some reason.
“Hopefully we can finish the day in a strong position and I can keep the battle with Ferrari if that’s possible.”
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