Seiz­ing the big chances

Autosport (UK) - - F1 SEASON REVIEW | HONDA AND TORO ROSSO -

Pierre Gasly rates his first full year in For­mula 1 as 8.5 out of 10. “Why? Be­cause I think in my first com­plete sea­son my main tar­get was to make the best out of the pack­age I had,” he says. “I knew there would be two, three, four op­por­tu­ni­ties in the sea­son to score points, big points – I had to make sure that in these kind of mo­ments I would be right there and be able to make them hap­pen. And I think that’s what I did.”

He’s not wrong. As well as bank­ing Honda’s best re­sult since re­turn­ing to F1, with fourth place in Bahrain,

Gasly scored big twice more be­fore the sum­mer break – he was sev­enth in Monaco and sixth in Hun­gary. But Toro Rosso’s gen­eral lack of car progress pre­vented big hits in the sec­ond part of the sea­son.

“Bahrain, Monaco, Bu­dapest, I would say they were the main three ones where we man­aged to do the right thing,” says Gasly. “In Bahrain we had to de­liver a good qual­i­fy­ing at the right time to have the free air in the race and that’s what I man­aged to do. In Monaco we had to make it into the Q3, bet­ter start­ing grid po­si­tion, that’s what we did.

“In the wet in Bu­dapest in quali, I man­aged to make it to Q3 and have a good start­ing po­si­tion. They were the races where we had a bit more per­for­mance com­pared to oth­ers and we man­aged to make it hap­pen when it mat­tered.”

Gasly learned of his pro­mo­tion to the Red Bull se­nior team over the sum­mer break, fol­low­ing Daniel Ric­cia­rdo’s shock de­ci­sion to leave for Re­nault. While the big re­sults stopped after that, there were still high­lights – like a gutsy drive to ninth in Bel­gium, and nick­ing a point in Mex­ico. He should have had a point in Bri­tain too, but lost it be­cause he was judged to have been too ag­gres­sive in bat­tle.

Ul­ti­mately, Gasly was the bet­ter of the two Toro Rosso driv­ers. But Bren­don Hart­ley did run him close in qual­i­fy­ing and Gasly may need to step up a gear to stand a chance against Max Ver­stap­pen at Red Bull.

“I knew there would be some op­por­tu­ni­ties to score big points and we made it hap­pen”

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