‘Optimistic strategy’ caused shock Gasly exit

Date published: March 16 2019

Pierre Gasly says Red Bull's decision to do only one run was a mistake and caused his Q1 elimination.

Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly says his Q1 elimination was down to an over optimistic strategy with the team going for a single run.

The Frenchman was making his debut for the team and, after two major crashes in testing, Melbourne was the place where he could start to right the wrongs.

However, the 21-year-old completed only one run in the first of qualifying’s three sessions and when track evolution caused times to tumble, he ended up P17 for the race tomorrow  – despite being just 0.144s shy of team-mate Max Verstappen who went through in tenth.

Lewis Hamilton would go on to secure his sixth consecutive pole in Australia, with Mercedes partner Valtteri Bottas close behind as the Silver Arrows demolished their competition.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, Gasly said: “We’ve been a bit optimistic with one run and I’m really, really disappointed with that.

“That was our strategy. I was pretty happy with my first lap, ended up one tenth behind Max, so only lost a little bit.

“We just didn’t expect others to improve so much on the second run.”

As soon as the pack started pumping in fast times, Gasly said he feared the worst.

“When I saw the improvements they were doing, they were winning almost a second, I quickly understood that it would be pretty tough,” Gasly added.

“It’s disappointing because FP3 was better, I felt more comfortable with the car in qualifying and I think we had the pace to get a decent result.

“We got caught out by track evolution and it cost us a lot.”

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