AlphaTauri’s Gasly gave Ferrari a ‘bad surprise’ in Mexico

Jamie Woodhouse
Ferrari avoid Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas. Mexico, November 2021.

Ferrari forced to avoid the spinning Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas. Mexico, November 2021.

Ferrari were expecting more than a P5 and P6 finish at the Mexican GP, but Pierre Gasly made sure to dash their plans.

The fierce battle for P3 in the Constructors’ Championship has featured two of Formula 1’s most improved teams, those being Ferrari and McLaren.

And with McLaren having a tough time of things in Mexico, scoring only one point via Lando Norris, Ferrari had their sights set on a damaging performance.

This is something they achieved, but Ferrari did not expect to encounter such fierce resistance from AlphaTauri’s Gasly, who went on to deliver a solid P4.

Leclerc and Sainz even swapped places in a bid to pick off Gasly, but to no avail, so after returning to their original order Leclerc would claim P5 and Sainz P6.

“When we put the hard tyre on, I struggled especially in the first twenty laps, I never saw the front left tyre in that condition and I struggled a lot,” Leclerc reflected with Sky Italia.

“Carlos struggled a bit less so we did the first swap to have the chance to pass Pierre, we didn’t manage to do that, so we did again the swap at the end of the race.”

Asked if he took satisfaction from the result, Leclerc returned to the subject of Gasly’s “bad surprise”, admitting that Ferrari were hoping for better in Mexico.

“In the end, we’re never satisfied this year, apart from Monaco and the qualifying at Baku maybe when we fought for the victory,” said Leclerc.

“But it’s true we expected a bit more from this weekend. In my opinion the surprise is most of all Pierre, because he went very fast also in the race. So that was a bad surprise. But on the medium tyres we went fast, we have to understand what we did wrong on the hard tyres.”

Sainz said that he had to lift off slightly at the start to avoid Valtteri Bottas and Daniel Ricciardo who had collided ahead, something which impacted the rest of his race.

“It was a difficult start because both cars started on the dirty side, you saw the grip was way worse,” he said.

“After that the braking at Turn 1 was not bad, but there was that incident between Ricciardo and Bottas, I had to lift the foot [off the gas] and a couple of cars passed me.

“It’s a pity because that affected a bit all the race.”


Sainz did of course recover to a position where he could look to challenge Gasly, but like his team-mate Leclerc, Sainz discovered that there was no way through.

“We had a similar or faster pace than Gasly’s but I found myself a bit behind and I had to make a comeback a bit,” Sainz explained.

“I was very fast today, very fast all weekend, so I’m happy from that side, but maybe we missed beating AlphaTauri.

“We expected to be ahead of AlphaTauri at the beginning of the weekend. But they proved to be very fast, they’ve been very fast today, with the pace we were equal, maybe a bit better because I was catching him [Gasly] before letting Charles past.

“But on this track if you are ahead after the first corner, then it’s really hard to beat you.”

Additional reporting by Luca Brambilla


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