Seizing the big chances
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”