A tough Friday for Pierre Gasly gave way to a much more competitive showing on Saturday, as the AlphaTauri driver praised his team’s recovery in Turkey after taking P4 on the grid.
Gasly was in the top 10 in both practice sessions on Friday but stated afterwards that he was not happy with his car’s handling, with understeer a specific problem that led to his “my arms are too short to turn the wheel” radio message.
Qualifying saw a much-improved performance, with Gasly outpacing Sergio Perez on his way to fourth on the grid – after Lewis Hamilton’s penalty is taken into account – with only a late lap from Charles Leclerc denying him third. Fourth matches his career-best starting position.
READ MORE: Turkish GP Qualifying Facts & Stats – A first ever Mercedes front row slot in Turkey, as Schumacher makes second Q2 appearance
“I must say I’m really pleased because yesterday was hard,” Gasly said. “We had so much understeer in the car, I didn’t like the balance, so I asked for quite a lot of changes and in the end the team gave me a very competitive car for today. I enjoyed it so much this morning and this afternoon, a much better balance; it felt like the car was alive, and to qualify fifth is still one of our best Saturdays.
“It was very close with Charles and also Max [Verstappen] being ahead but not very far, so a lot of positives to take and exciting for the race tomorrow.”
READ MORE: Leclerc relieved to qualify fourth in ‘scary’ session as Sainz rues ‘missed opportunity’ to join team mate in Q3
With the display in Turkey coming after a qualifying session that frustrated Gasly in Russia – when both AlphaTauri cars failed to escape Q2 – the Frenchman had special praise for his team for the way they responded to their errors.
“We talked a a lot about it and I think we’ve all learned together as a team. I think the team did a very good job. Yesterday we weren’t in a our best shape but all the changes overnight clearly made the car a lot faster to be able to fight with Ferrari in qualifying. So I’m happy with them and I’m confident we are in a good position for tomorrow.”
2021 Turkish GP Qualifying: Tsunoda on to grass in Q1
While all four Honda-powered cars reached Q3 for the first time since Austria and Yuki Tsunoda delivered improvements throughout the weekend, the Japanese rookie was surprisingly less satisfied as he felt he should have been higher than ninth on the grid.
“A good day for the team,” Tsunoda added. “The build-up was good. To be honest I was expecting to be higher in qualifying based on free practice pace. So I’m not fully happy but it’s positive that I went through to Q3 and it’s a top 10 start.”
HIGHLIGHTS: Relive the action as Hamilton goes fastest in Turkish GP qualifying