Gasly 'doesn't understand some of AlphaTauri's choices'

Pierre Gasly (FRA) AlphaTauri AT03. 28.05.2022. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 7, Monaco Grand Prix, Monte Carlo, Monaco, Qualifying
© XPB 

Pierre Gasly was anything but happy at the end of Saturday's qualifying in Monaco following his unexpected eviction from Q1, and the Frenchman had a few blunt words for his AlphaTauri team.

Gasly had been confident of featuring in the final round of qualifying after a strong build up in practice that had left him close to the Ferrari and Red Bull contenders

Instead he was shocked to find himself on the sidelines at the end of Q1 after missing the first cut, meaning that he will have to line up for tomorrow's place in P17 on the grid.

Gasly was caught out by a late flurry of flying laps that followed a brief red flag stoppage, ironically triggered by his own team mate Yuki Tsunoda who clipped the barrier at the Nouvelle chicane and suffered a puncture.

When the session resumed there was just two and a half minutes left on the clock. While other drivers rushed out to take advantage of the rapidly evolving track conditions, AlphaTauri held its drivers back.

It proved to be a disastrous decision, with many of his rivals making big improvements to their times leaving Gasly sliding backwards into the drop zone after being one second too late getting to the line to start his own final push lap.

“Extremely disappointed,” said Gasly who had stomped away from pit lane after learning he had missed the cut. “I don’t think I can put words into how I’m feeling right now, because the whole weekend was so good.

“We were P5 this morning, P6 yesterday," he told the media in the paddock at Monaco. "Every time I felt so quick in the car. I was comfortable to put the fast lap times.

Pierre Gasly (FRA) AlphaTauri AT03. 28.05.2022. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 7, Monaco Grand Prix, Monte Carlo, Monaco, Qualifying

"We left the pitlane too late in Q1 and didn’t manage to cross the line before the red light came out.

“We basically didn’t have any representative time [in qualifying]," he continued. “Obviously there is a bit of bad luck, but at the end of the day it was the same session for everyone.

"I’m not happy with the strategic calls we made today," he stated. "We had the pace to fight for top six, and in the end we’re not starting in the position we deserve to be in.

“I just don’t understand some of the choices we’re making," he fumed. “Our mistakes are costing us massively - unfortunately weekend after weekend ... I’m very disappointed for everyone in the team.

When asked who the 'we' was that he was referring to, he replied: “We as a team - I put myself in the team.

"Overall as a team, they try to do their best, and giving them my best, but at the moment, these things should not happen. We need to do better."

Yuki Tsunoda (JPN) AlphaTauri AT03 locks up under braking. 28.05.2022. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 7, Monaco Grand Prix, Monte Carlo, Monaco, Qualifying

AlphaTauri technical director Jody Egginton acknowledged the high level of frustration all round with today's misstep.

“Honestly we thought we would be quite strong here," he said. “We thought mechanical grip and higher ride height aero performance was quite strong and we thought we’d be okay around here. And we’ve been comfortable all weekend.

“We never felt we were chasing it - the car’s responded well, everything’s been great," he continued. “But we’ve got to qualifying and we’ve not delivered, which is frustrating.

"As far as I’m concerned, both drivers and the car were good enough for Q3 here," he insisted. “So it’s nothing more than we’ve just let ourselves down.

"Yuki touching a barrier meant that everyone came into the pits for one final push lap before the end of the session," he explained. "The problem was that we were not out close enough to the front of this pack.

"This meant that we were tight on margin for getting both drivers across the line before the chequered flag and Pierre missed it by one second. At the end of the day, we just needed to get him out slightly earlier.

Yuki Tsunoda (JPN) AlphaTauri AT03. 28.05.2022. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 7, Monaco Grand Prix, Monte Carlo, Monaco, Qualifying

"We need to go away and look at why this was, because in a midfield this competitive we can’t be throwing away any advantages.

"We’ve missed a really good opportunity today to get both cars into the top 10. The drivers and the team definitely deserved that today, and the car was good enough."

After surviving his brush with the Monaco barriers, Tsunoda ironically fared somewhat better than Gasly. He was able to get back out after the red flag in time to improve his time and make it through to the second round.

The Japanese driver acknowledged that it had been a “situation I created” due to his “big impact” crash.

"I touched the barriers in Q1 and damaged the front left of the car. The red flag allowed us to get back to the garage, however there was still some damage on the car and that impacted my performance.

"Unfortunately, this also compromised Pierre’s quali and he was unable to get through Q1. It’s a real shame as I think both cars had the potential to be in Q3 today."

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