Formula 1 Racing

Bouncing back “important” for Alpine after Baku F1 misery

Pierre Gasly, Alpine A523

Alpine has endured a torrid run since the Australian GP, with both Gasly and team-mate Esteban Ocon colliding in Melbourne, while neither could crack the points-scoring positions in the sprint or the main race in Azerbaijan.

Gasly qualified a season-best fifth in Miami, with Ocon three spots behind, and is determined to use this as a springboard to build on Alpine’s meagre eight-point haul for the 2023 season so far.

“I think, generally speaking, I’m just very pleased for the whole team,” he said.

“We managed to qualify both cars in the top eight and, after the tough weekend in Baku, everybody was kind of disappointed with the result in the pace we showed there.

“It was important to bounce back this weekend and that’s what we did. I think in practice we managed to show some good speed, I managed to do the lap when it mattered in Q3 and did a decent job with the used tyre, which put us in P5.”

The final moments of the Q3 session in Miami were disrupted when Charles Leclerc crashed his Ferrari and caused a red flag, which also restricted Red Bull’s Max Verstappen to ninth on the grid after he’d made an earlier error on his first run.

Gasly believes he could have finished ahead of Haas’s Kevin Magnussen with an extra run, as he was only 0.019s slower, while he concedes between sixth and eighth would likely have been his best had Verstappen and Leclerc finished their second laps.

Pierre Gasly, Alpine A523

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

“I think, objectively, Charles and Max could have been in front of us, and then that would put us in P7, but at the same time [the gap] was so small with Kevin with another lap I think we could have gotten him as well – we’re talking two hundredths off,” Gasly added.

“So, we were between sixth and eighth on pure pace, and that’s positive. It seemed to suit our car better.

“I’m definitely pleased. We have a good chance [in the race] and from there everything can happen. So, we’ll push and see the outcome, but I think big points are on the table for us.”

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Gasly expects that Verstappen will carve through the grid easily due to the pace advantage of the Red Bull, but stated his immediate aim is to pass Magnussen at the start of the race.

“The target is to pass Kevin as soon as possible in the race, because they seem to struggle with the tyres usually, so we’ll try to do that,” he added.

“I think the Red Bulls have got so much speed advantage that I expect Max to come back towards the front…

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