It was crucial for Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly to get a good start in 2018 Formula 1 Hungarian Grand Prix, which helped him to record his second best result of the season.
The Frenchman was able to get Renault’s Carlos Sainz off the line and with Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen’s retirement, he ran fifth for the majority of the race. His pace was certainly strong enough to fend off any challenge.
He did lose a place to Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo later to be sixth but was able to hold off any threat from behind especially Haas’ Kevin Magnussen. Once in the clean air, the Dane started to clock in faster times towards the end in the fight for sixth.
However, the Frenchman upped his pace and secured sixth – his first points since Monaco, to end the first half on a high. “I knew I had to overtake Carlos at the start because the Top 5 were out of reach,” said Gasly after the race. “I managed to do so in Turn 1.
“After that I had free air, so I had to just focus on my driving, just try to do the best I could do with the tyres and the fuel and try to be as fast as I could. I managed to put a good gap with Kevin, the 70 laps were really-really long especially in these conditions.
“At one point he [Magnussen] was catching but I think they were pushing on the fuel because he lifted quite a lot after that so. I was managing the tyers, I saw he was catching and I know they are super fast most of the time.
“So, I tried to give everything I had inside the car [and finish ahead]. I am just super happy about the whole weekend. It was amazing result for the team especially before the summer break.
“Just fantastic to bring P6 to the team, especially after the last races we struggled a lot. We knew there was an opportunity here and the team did a fantastic job, the car was mega and our strategy was good, so just super happy.”
The Frenchman’s pace was such that he was the only one in the ‘best of the rest’ pack to have not been lapped by the leaders. Gasly has in fact, scored the team’s maximum points at 26, with only two coming from Brendon Hartley.
The Kiwi was unlucky as he lost places to the McLarens and also the Haas of Romain Grosjean to finish 11th. He started inside the Top 10 but despite a solid drive and with no mistakes, he lost out in the pits.
The team has had an up and down season so far. They have had reliability issues still, but the team has had some solid results in odd races to be well ahead of the likes of Sauber and Williams in the constructors’ fight.