AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly has admitted that he feels proud to have achieved an ‘incredible’ podium finish after enduring an ‘intense’ climax to the 2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
Gasly enjoyed a strong weekend in Baku as he topped FP3 before claiming fourth on the grid in a chaotic Qualifying session, with the Frenchman finding himself battling Charles Leclerc after the first round of stops until the red flag came out on lap 48.
Gasly eventually benefitted from the late chaos and a dramatic two-lap scrap to fend off Leclerc and McLaren’s Lando Norris for the final podium place in third place.
Reflecting on the crazy finish despite nursing a power related issue throughout the second half of the race, Gasly said: “After the restart I thought that Charles would pass me on the straight because we had lost performance, but I saw the podium ahead of me and I tried everything, I just wanted it so badly.”
The one-time race winner though admitted that he enjoyed the ‘hard but fair racing’ against Leclerc and wouldn’t of had the race any other way.
Gasly though is already looking ahead to his home race in France across 18-20 June in search of further progress, commenting: “Moving forward to France, we need to analyse what went well this weekend and see how we can use these learnings at the next race.”
AlphaTauri further enjoyed a double points finish after Yuki Tsunoda started and finished seventh on his first trip to Baku, having luckily escaped a Q3 crash with minor damage.
Tsunoda though admitted that he feels surprisingly ‘frustrated’ by his seventh-placed finish because he feels that the car had ‘strong pace throughout the weekend, despite struggling on the standing restart as he lost positions to Norris then Fernando Alonso who got a strong launch from tenth to finish sixth.
Reflecting post-race, Tsunoda admitted that he is unsure as to whether he ‘could have done anything differently’ on the second restart, so is keen to get stuck into the data analysis to understand where he needs to improve moving forward.