Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly was encouraged with the performance of Honda’s upgraded power unit in the Canadian Grand Prix despite not being able to score any points in the 68-lap race on Sunday.
The Japanese manufacturer brought an updated ICE for both the drivers on a power circuit in Canada eyeing a performance boost. The team started off well in the weekend but Gasly suffered a minor issue in FP3 which forced Honda to change his PU for qualifying.
The Frenchman went back to his older spec which hampered his performance as he finished 16th while teammate Brendon Hartley was 12th. However, the team were able to find the cure and put back the new spec on Gasly’s car ahead of the race.
Fortunately, it proved to be the right decision as Hartley had an opening lap shunt with Williams’ Lance Stroll, while Gasly managed to see the chequered flag. The Red Bull junior made up eight places to finish 11th after starting from 19th on the grid.
His race included passes on Williams’ Sergey Sirotkin, Haas’ Kevin Magnussen and also passing a Force India’s Sergio Perez after his off-track excursion. He missed on the Top 10 place while he had to fend off a faster Romain Grosjean (Haas), who was on fresher tyres.
Even though he couldn’t score, but he was happy with how the upgrades worked on the car which he reckons is promising for the future as whatever the Japanese manufacturer outlined to achieve, they managed to do so.
“We started in the last row, so we knew it will be difficult to overtake,” said Gasly. “But then, in the end we finished P11. I managed to overtake a couple of cars and I think there are a lot of positives.
“I was disappointed to finish so close to the points, but overall the new power unit seems to work really well. We overtook Force India, we overtook Haas on the straights so we can race and the pace is promising for the coming races.
“I was pretty close to Charles a couple of times, then I damaged my front tyres so in the end it became difficult to pass,” he added. The Japanese manufacturer was also happy with the progress made on the performance side.
“The PU updates we brought here delivered a noticeable increase in performance, which is a good sign for the next stage of the season,” said Honda’s F1 boss Toyoharu Tanabe. The only blip for the team was another failure for Hartley.
The Kiwi had a hard crash with Stroll at the exit of Turn 4 after the Canadian lost control and hit the wall while Hartley was on the outside line. Hartley’s car went airborne brushing the walls before coming to a halt, as they both went straight to the barrier in Turn 6.
Onboard video from the crash showed Hartley’s helmet hitting the Halo which required him to visit the medical center. He was then taken to a nearby hospital where he was cleared after they performed ECG scans on him.