Gasly admits to VSC pit error, Alpha Tauri lament loss to Leclerc
AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly admits to a VSC error in the Russian GP as both he and Daniil Kvyat rue losing out to Ferrari's Charles Leclerc.
The decision to pit Gasly was a split-second one from AlphaTauri; a call made not with great forethought, but rather one based on instinct. It has become an expectation that the activation of a safety car should bring a flurry of pit stops, and the Italian team were not content to wait another lap if indeed the virtual safety car - started by Romain Grosjean destroying the bollards - was to be advantageous from a strategic perspective.
And so, the only driver in the immediate area, Gasly dove for the pits during the latter stages of F1 Russian GP. However, a quick repair time from marshals meant that the VSC ended just as the Frenchman entered the pits, putting him on a sub-optimal strategy, but preventing him from being able to reap the rewards of his sacrifice.
He managed to regain ninth after passing McLaren's Lando Norris and Red Bull's Alexander Albon but he wasn't wholly satisfied. "It was a bit of a gamble from the team because if it had been slightly longer it would have paid off quite well, but as soon as we came in it went green, so wasn't lucky [with the] timing, but in the end we managed to recover to P9 and overtake Alex and Lando in the end," said Gasly to TV media.
"The car was good, I feel like we could have fought for more. The start of the race was good." The bigger loss for both Gasly and AlphaTauri teammate Daniil Kvyat was Ferrari's Charles Leclerc getting track position on of them, having started from behind.
Leclerc alone delivered Ferrari eight points, this number exceeding that of AlphaTauri's points haul by two. With Vettel out of the top ten, a double-points finish for the latter team was a positive result, but nonetheless they rued letting Ferrari get the better of them.
"I was in front of Charles, and when I see where he finished, I think that we lost too much time in the middle part of the race," said Gasly. "Generally, I think our race pace was pretty good. I was a bit disappointed with P9 in the end. I really felt that the car's pace was slightly better, especially when I cleared Kimi on that second stint.
"I was catching Daniel and Ocon quite quickly. That's how it is." Gasly ended up right behind Kvyat, who couldn't pass Esteban Ocon in the end. The Russian started on the hard compound but he couldn't gain from the first lap incidents.
Having run deep, he lost out to Leclerc, who made a massive jump on multiple drivers. While he was happy with his performance, he - like Gasly - rued that Ferrari were able to jump them. "I am very pleased," said Kvyat. "I had to push.
"That's exactly the kind of race I like. It was an amazing first stint, very strong. I was pushing very hard and we made the strategy work very well, so I'm very happy; very pleased with the result and with my driving so we did a good job.
"As much as I was happy to score points but Ferrari unfortunately outscored us. So, we have to keep pushing. The car is there, the pace is there. I'm confident, and pleased with the car more and more every race so it's very good."
[This story was written by me for FormulaRapida and edited by Darshan Chokhani]