Pierre Gasly: Near-tangle with Red Bull piled further misery on qualifying penalties

Henry Valantine
Alpine driver Pierre Gasly at the Monaco Grand Prix. Monte Carlo, May 2023.

Alpine's Pierre Gasly at the Monaco Grand Prix. Monte Carlo, May 2023.

Pierre Gasly said near-contact with Sergio Perez at the start dropped him four places in Barcelona, even further into the midfield.

The Alpine driver was hit with two separate grid penalties after qualifying on Saturday that dropped him from the second row of the grid down to 10th, which undid some of the good work he did over one lap.

This left the Frenchman right in the middle of the midfield tussle at the start in Spain, with the run to the first braking zone being among the longest of the season in Barcelona.

He said he had to take avoiding action against Perez and go on the gravel in the process, which dropped him even further back in the pack – but in free air, he felt his Alpine was at least as fast as the Aston Martin duo that finished sixth and seventh on the day.

“Starting from fourth would have been a very different race, instead I was 10th,” Gasly told reporters after the race.

“It was just quite unlucky through [Turns] 1 and 2, we were three wide in Turn 2 and I had to open in the gravel not to have contact with Sergio [and] lost four positions.

“So from qualifying fourth, I ended up P14 on the first lap, which changed the whole race massively.

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“From there was I just trying to recover, 10th obviously is a point but clearly feels that there was way more to achieve, but we got the penalty yesterday which obviously put us on the back foot today and today clearly didn’t start well at all.

“So there are some positives, when we’re alone, I think we had a good pace, we had the pace to fight the Aston, which is positive, but we just need to do a more complete job all around.”

After Alpine appeared to make a significant step forward in Monaco last weekend, the pace on show from the team looked good again in Barcelona, with the team putting themselves in the mix among Ferrari and Aston Martin throughout.

With that, Gasly hopes to minimise mistakes over a full race weekend and will endeavour to put himself in the fight to break into the top six places come Canada in a fortnight’s time.

“Monaco was strong, Barcelona was strong in qualifying and again in the race there was a very good sign of performance when we’re in free air,” Gasly said.

“So I think the package is there, we just need to make sure we start at the front, be more careful with any mistakes which can penalise us and I’m sure there is performance to clearly go and find the top six next time.”