Pierre Gasly knew it was not possible to fight against Lewis Hamilton in closing stages of F1 Azerbaijan GP, as he was happy with fifth place.

AlphaTauri’s Gasly hasn’t had the best of the 2022 F1 season so far, but the Azerbaijan GP was somewhat a turnaround with a Top 5 finish after a strong weekend all-round. He qualified in the Top 10 and made the most of other’s misery.

The team eventually decided not to pit under the Virtual Safety Car when Mercedes did so with Hamilton which brought him in content to challenge him towards the end. AlphaTauri asked Gasly to not fight hard against the Brit, which he had to agree with.

But overall, he was content with a Top 5 finish after a brief run of dry spell. “After the start of the year where we’ve been quite unlucky for a lot of incidents, mistakes,” said Gasly to media. “Coming into this weekend I really insisted from all of us to focus on minimising the mistakes and just execute the best weekend we could with the package we had.

“And I mean that’s what we did, P6 in quali, P5 in the race even though the latest safety car didn’t play in our favour with but the fact that we we had only one set of hard tyres, so we didn’t really have any choice than staying on track. But I mean if we’re fighting with Mercedes we know that means we are doing our job right.

“And no, we are going  keep pushing and maximising these opportunities when they’re coming to us,” summed up Gasly, who noted that he tried to keep Hamilton behind but he could send from far off that the Brit had much more pace than him on fresher tyres.

“I tried,” said Gasly. “But he was so much faster with these new tyres. I must say we boxed earlier than we would have liked due to the first virtual safety car and I had to extend that stint to make it work for 41 laps, I think.

“And this was already hard enough, so when he came out with new tyres initially I heard his lap times I was like okay, there’s not gonna be anything to keep him behind, but I tried and it was just two big difference with the difference of tyres,” summed up Gasly, who felt they were on par with Mercedes in the race and had they also pitted for the same set, he could have had a fighting chance.

“I think we knew that the target at the start of the race will be okay we’ll see what happens with Lewis, but if they’re faster than us not to waste too much time or kill our tires too much,” said Gasly. “But I must say the whole first stint I could keep him behind. The pace was very similar. Some laps I was a tenth faster, next lap he was a tenth faster.

“I think it would have been interesting to see if he could have caught us on the same set of tire, which I think would have been a pretty nice battle. But fair play to them, and you know at the end it was first top-five of the year after the performance we showed from the start of the season. I think we can be extremely happy with that,” summed up Gasly.

AlphaTauri at one point were looking set for a double points finish but for a DRS issue on Yuki Tsunoda’s which the team had to fix using duct tape. But by that time, he dropped outside the Top 10 and despite being on soft tyres, he couldn’t fight back.

Here’s fight between Lewis Hamilton and Pierre Gasly: https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/video.2022-azerbaijan-grand-prix-hamilton-gets-past-defending-gasly.1735432867312135441.html