Pierre Gasly says AlphaTauri didn’t deserve to score points in F1 Russian GP after the mistakes they made, where they pitted Yuki Tsunoda for soft when it started to drizzle.
AlphaTauri plus the Russian GP is equal to a very bad day at the office. Neither Gasly or Yuki Tsunoda made it to Q3, especially when its common these days to see at least one car in the Top 10. It is where their problems kick-started in the weekend.
First of all with Gasly, it was an irritating day which followed on from qualifying. On Saturday, he was livid after the team continued on the one set of intermediate tyres in Q2, which ultimately cast them outside of the Top 10 position.
And on Sunday, he had wanted to pit for intermediate tyres when rain came and frequently asked to box. It might be deemed to be a case scenario where the team did not listen to their driver and ended up paying the price, keeping him out for longer on slicks.
“I think overall we did a very good first stint, keeping Bottas behind for 30 laps,” said Gasly to TV media. “And then Carlos when he joined after that, and on the second stint we were right behind Bottas before the rain came, and they pitted and we decided to stay out. Unfortunately, he finished P5 and we finished P13, so we lost quite a lot there and we will revise what we could have done better.
And there’s the killer, staying out when they possibly should have pitted. In a way, many made the same mistakes but for a team like AlphaTauri, they have to be on their toes with such calls. Gasly reckoned they didn’t deserve the points at all after the weekend they had.
“The pace was strong in Monza, the pace was again strong here, but we didn’t capatalise on it,” said Gasly. “So this weekend I don’t think we deserved points because we made too many mistakes, and it’s such a difficult sport where you need to get everything to perfection, I think we didn’t deserve it because we haven’t done a job good enough this weekend, simple as that.”
As per the above, irritating all around and it was also disappointing for Tsunoda also. Both drivers lost places on lap one but the Japanese driver dropped to 20th and last. That was not it, the team thought ‘out of the box’ and pitted him for slicks when it started to drizzle, thinking the race won’t last long and he would gain places.
Tsunoda ran for about two laps on the soft tyres, but was then forced to pit for the intermediate compound, thereby ruining his already bad race. “The target was to score points and we didn’t,” said chief engineer Claudio Balestri. “In the first lap we immediately lost positions with both cars but for the rest of the race, when we were free of traffic, the pace of the car was quite good.
“To maximise the possibility to score points, we decided to split the strategy across the cars, with Pierre going long on the first stint with the Hards, then swapping to the Mediums. Whilst with Yuki we did the opposite, starting him on the Mediums. However, with just six laps to go, some light rain arrived and the track became slippery.
“Some cars pitted for Inters but we decided to stick with dry tyres – leaving Pierre out and calling Yuki in for Softs – as we believed the rain wouldn’t continue and we could capitalise on this opportunity. Unfortunately, the gamble didn’t pay off and the rain became far heavier, so we were forced to pit for Inters. We now need to go home and analyse what we could have done better in such tricky weather conditions.”
A proverbial “what if” weekend all around for AlphaTauri. Their issues, particularly with Gasly began in qualifying and it snowballed from there. Their target as a team is fifth in the constructors’ where they are 19 points behind Alpine, who are working well. But to catch and overhaul the French team, they need to “work” together and get the calls and decisions right.
The story was written by Neil Farrell
Here’s Yuki Tsunoda getting blocked by Nikita Mazepin