Gasly 'pleased with everything' after amazing P4 at Zandvoort

Pierre Gasly (FRA) AlphaTauri AT02. 05.09.2021. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 13, Dutch Grand Prix, Zandvoort
ยฉ XPB 

AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly gave his Dutch Grand Prix a big thumps up, describing fourth place on Sunday at Zandvoort as "an amazing result" for himself and the team.

"Finishing in front of both Ferraris, both McLarens and right behind the three cars of the top teams. Itโ€™s been a fantastic performance," he told the media after the end of the race.

"Strong qualifying, very good start, very good pace through all the race and a perfect weekend for us.

"P4 is an amazing result today, I don't think we could really hope for much better and it's 12 important points for us," he said. "A lot of positives to take from this weekend, and it's exciting for all the races until the end of the year.โ€

Gasly started the race from fourth place after a strong qualifying session on Saturday, and retained that position when the race got underway.

He briefly fell to seventh when he made an early pit stop on lap 23, but gradually returned to his earlier position ahead of Ferrari's Charles Leclerc as the rest of the drivers made their own stops over the ensuing laps and maintained fourth place for the rest of the race,

"Pierre did a fantastic job this weekend," commented team principal Franz Tost. "He managed to keep this position all the way to the chequered flag in today's race. It was a very good job by Pierre, so a huge well done to both him and the whole team for this great result."

However Gasly was irked to be put a lap down by race leader Max Verstappen five laps before the finish.

โ€œI really enjoyed all 72 laps here [but] the last ten laps were a bit long," he admitted. "The whole middle part of the race was all about managing Charles behind and the gap.

Pierre Gasly (FRA) AlphaTauri AT02 makes a pit stop. 05.09.2021. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 13, Dutch Grand Prix, Zandvoort

"The team was really worried about the tyres, so they asked me to slow down the entire time which was a bit annoying," he recalled. "I told them, โ€˜Okay just let me do my thing and then we'll be fineโ€™, and in the end it was fine.

"It was just very enjoyable to be in that position, to have the performance to just push when I wanted and exactly do what I wanted inside the car.

Gasly said that the highlight of his race has been the pass he made on Alpine rival Fernando Alonso around the outside of turn 1 on lap 28, just after his pit stop. โ€œAt the same time I knew Fernando fighting us in the championship will make my life quite hard,โ€ he said.

โ€œBut the previous lap I was so strong into turn one, I saw I gained so much time and almost tried something without really wanting to do it," he continued. "That next lap I was really far, just sort of surprised him. I don't think he expected me to go around the outside there.

"I just thought, 'Okay I'll give it a shot, try to surprise [him]', and yes - I think it was a nice one. I really enjoyed it and I don't think he expected me to go there."

Gasly added that he would have tried the same move even if it had been against someone less experienced that he couldn't be quite so sure wouldn't react badly.

Pierre Gasly (FRA) AlphaTauri AT02. 05.09.2021. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 13, Dutch Grand Prix, Zandvoort

"I would have done the same," he insisted. "Even on Fernando, heโ€™s a tough one to fight and I could not come with just a normal overtake and just go on the inside, because he would have defended.

"That was a nice move and it allowed me to get some free air after that and open the gap on Charles, so it was important to make it up.โ€

Overall, the French driver said he'd loved the race and the venue. "Zandvoort is a fantastic track," he said. "I had fun today, I'm really pleased with everything, the car is really fast and I managed to get it set-up just the way I wanted. The team did a fantastic job throughout the weekend and today we were flying!"

Next up on the calendar is the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, where he clinched his maiden F1 race victory in 2020. "I'm obviously very excited to get back to Monza after last year and obviously the expectations are very high," he acknowledged.

"We've clearly maximised our package this weekend, so it'll be interesting to see how it performs next weekend in Italy."

Meanwhile Gasly's team mate Yuki Tsunoda was an early retirement from the race on lap 38 with mechanical issues while running in 14th place.

"Today's result is disappointing of course," he commented. "We saw an issue on the PU data and unfortunately had to retire the car. Up until that point the race was going quite well and the pace of the car was there, but it was hard to overtake."

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