AlphaTauri Formula 1 driver Pierre Gasly is concerned that he could suffer a repeat of the floor damage that limited him to ninth in Sakhir GP qualifying during the race.
The Frenchman was one of many drivers who struggled over the kerbs in the bumpy linking section of the outer circuit, and was unable to live up to the impressive form he’d shown in setting the third quickest time in Saturday’s FP3 session and the fifth fastest time in Q1 after a heavy kerb strike cost him downforce.
He ended the session three spots behind team mate Daniil Kvyat, whose sixth place was his best qualifying effort of the year, and afterwards explained he had “a bit mixed feeling” about his “damage limitation” run.
“Obviously after the pace we showed in P3 it was a bit frustrating, because I damaged the floor in Q1 and from there basically we tried to repair as much as we could,” he said.
“From Q2 it was pretty difficult. We had another hit in Q2; I’ve lost some parts of the floor, bargeboards, and it just made life really hard, so I was happy to make it to Q3 already.
“I think we were right on the edge, but a bit disappointed because obviously after what we showed I knew the car had more potential, and we were just stuck with this damage we keep having in Turn 8, on the exit kerb.
“In the end it was more about damage limitation, and I think that’s what we managed to achieve.
“So I think I’m still happy I made it to Q3, and we’re starting P9 I think is not bad.”
After executing a one-stop strategy to finish sixth in last week’s Bahrain GP, Gasly said he was confident of the car’s performance in race trim to score more good points, but said he was “a bit worried” about its fragility.
“I’ve been feeling strong in the car the whole weekend, long run pace we’re good, so I know in terms of pace we’ll have a good fight with the guys around us,” he said.
“The main thing is just reliability where I’m a bit worried, because since yesterday we keep losing parts of the car.
“We lost the mirrors, bargeboards were damaged, floor as well in P2, and then again in quali.
“So that’s the only thing that we need to be careful of, because 87 laps, it will be a very long race, and we’ve got to keep the car in one piece.
“But if we do so I’m confident we can have a good afternoon and score some good points.”
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