Gasly rode out ‘very difficult' Japanese GP with damaged Alpine

© XPB 

Pierre Gasly says he endured a “very long, very difficult” afternoon at Suzuka after his Alpine picked up damage on the race’s restart that significantly impacted his car’s downforce level.

From a lowly 17th on the grid, Gasly enjoyed a strong launch that saw him gain three positions in the running order only for a red flag to bring proceedings to a halt.

His second start was equally strong, but on the run down to the first corner, sandwiched between RB’s Yuki Tsunoda on his right and his Alpine teammate Esteban Ocon on his left, contact ensued with the latter that damaged the floor of his A524.

Hindered by the blow that deprived his car of downforce, Gasly faced a long haul to the checkered that he concluded in 16th position.

"I had an amazing first start, I managed to move up three positions,” Gasly recounted after the race.

"The second start was very good, I managed to pass Esteban and get alongside Yuki and then unfortunately, I got sandwiched – Yuki turning left, Esteban right, and [he] ultimately touched me on the left side of my floor.

"After that, I was down something like 40 points of downforce, that it was pretty much game over – I was trying to stay out there, hoping for another red flag to make changes.

"It was just a racing incident, but it cost us a lot. It was a very long, very difficult afternoon."

Amid the disappointing result, Gasly managed to extract a glimmer of positivity, with the introduction in Japan of Alpine’s initial set of upgrades providing a much-needed lift.

“On the positive side, we had the first set up of upgrades, which apparently delivered what we expected – so that was very positive," Gasly added.

“We just need to crack on with the new parts and upgrades on the car. I know the team is working really hard.

“Overall, we know we’re still too slow and we've got to find more performance.

“I know they are [the team] working really hard on it – they managed to get this first upgrade this weekend, and now we need to get the next set as soon as possible.”

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