Japanese Grand Prix – Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly says his unexpected Q3 appearance was key to securing an eventual P8 finish at Suzuka.
Pierre Gasly finished P8 in Sunday’s race at Suzuka, having started the race from P9 for Toro Rosso. The French driver was involved in a last lap collision with Racing Point’s Sergio Perez, with the Mexican driver endind up in the barriers as a result. However, no further action was taken as a result of the clash as neither driver was felt to be predominantly to blame.
This last-lap lunge didn't go to plan 😱
Despite crashing out on the final lap, Sergio Perez was still classified in P9 – with Gasly P8 – after the race results were counted a lap early#JapaneseGP 🇯🇵 #F1 pic.twitter.com/JDBCzU7t06
— Formula 1 (@F1) October 14, 2019
Gasly said afterwards that he felt the race had been hard work, having started ahead of faster cars due to his immense qualifying performance: “That was a pretty good day starting with qualifying – we didn’t expect to make it into Q3. Qualifying ninth was better than we expected.”
“In the race, we knew it would be more difficult…and it was. The guys behind were pushing really hard and were a bit faster than us so it was quite hard work to keep them behind. We were running 7th or 8th throughout most of the race so to finish in 8th and in front of the Japanese fans and Honda is really good.”
Asked about whether there had been any significant changes to the Toro Rosso or car setup since the Russian Grand Prix two weeks ago, Gasly said he thought the slight lack of preparation for qualifying after the cancellation of Saturday practice had had some impact on the starting grid, especially considering he had also missed FP1 as Naoki Yamamoto drove his car: “We didn’t really make any changes compared to last week. It does seem to work a bit more here, maybe it was a bit of strange weekend for everyone with not much work on Saturday. We went a bit more blindly into qualifying in terms of setup and that seemed to work quite well for us.Honda worked hard as well, and it was nice to feel that horsepower behind us.”