Pierre Gasly is slowly turning himself into a paddock favorite. The Frenchman maintains a low-profile demeanor, without too many antics outside the car and a smooth driving style inside it. Gasly has been impressive in the AlphaTauri since last year. The Frenchman picked up his first career win in Monza last year, and on Saturday delivered yet another fine performance after qualifying fifth for the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Compare that to the efforts of new Red Bull driver Sergio Perez who got knocked out in Q2. It could only be a matter of time before Red Bull have a serious decision to make regarding the Frenchman's prospects at the team.
When asked about the qualifying session, Pierre Gasly said that it was everything that he had dreamed of.
“That’s an amazing start for us,” Pierre Gasly said.
“P5, I don’t think I’ve achieved that many times with this team. To start 2021 in that way is just amazing. We managed to qualify on mediums in Q2 which will give us an advantage in the race. Honestly, everything went as we would have dreamed of and I think we’re ready to give a good fight to Charles tomorrow.”
"Let's keep it cool!" - Pierre Gasly
When questioned on the prospects of a potential podium at the Bahrain Grand Prix, Pierre Gasly opted to keep his expectations in check:
“Let’s keep it cool! We’ll keep it cool for now but I think there are clearly big points on the table for us tomorrow. So it’s important just to execute everything perfectly with what we’ve learned from testing, but I’m excited.”
On the other side of the garage, the situation wasn't as bright. Yuki Tsunoda struggled to get through to Q3 in his debut qualifying session in Formula 1 and could only manage 13th. This came after a sublime run in Q1 where the Japanese sensation was faster than his French teammate.
“I don’t know why or what’s happened,” Tsunoda said.
“It’s not acceptable for me how low the grip is especially after the wear of the C3, of course, compared to C4 it’s a harder compound with less grip. It’s not just much different, I lost quite a lot of grip and there was not enough grip. I have to see what happened and calculate the data and prepare for tomorrow."
Tsunoda has a lot of time to fix his mistakes from the session. The young Japanese is undeniably a quick driver, but he needs to work on his consistency. Yuki Tsunoda will look at Saturday's Bahrain Grand Prix qualifying session as a learning experience.
“For the learning side, I think it was really good. I think there was a lot of learning I got from this qualifying. There is still a lot of space to improve so I’ll just prepare to do better in Imola.”
The future looks bright for AlphaTauri. The car has competitive pace, and Pierre Gasly is in the form of his life. Yuki Tsunoda has also shown signs of having blistering speed. The lesser-known Italian team on the grid could potentially mount a challenge to be at the top of the Formula 1 midfield.