Gasly and AlphaTauri starred in qualifying for F1’s season opener, the Frenchman beginning fifth behind Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and forward of McLaren drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris.
Gasly’s rookie teammate Yuki Tsunoda also showed flashes of speed but missed out on a Q3 spot.
AlphaTauri’s qualifying rate has contributed Gasly confidence that the Faenza team will be in the mixture at the head of their midfield for the whole 2021 season.
“I think [with] the pace we’ve shown all weekend we are in the mix with the Ferrari and the McLaren and that’s the positive,” Gasly explained. “I think we’re clearly going to fight with them and on all tracks.”
While Tsunoda amazed on his debut by moving up from 13th to ninth in the race, departure Lance Stroll on the last lap of the race, Gasly’s race was destroyed on the first lap when he hit the back of Ricciardo and had to pit for a new front wing.
Gasly, who eventually retired from the race together with additional damage, was frustrated that AlphaTauri’s promising speed wasn’t converted into a big haul of things.
“When I had the contact with the McLaren, after that the race was pretty much over”, Gasly continued.
“I broke the front wing, I damaged the floor and then that was it pretty much. We had some more issues towards the end of the race, which meant we had to retire the car.
“Obviously, I’m very disappointed because there was a good fight with the Ferrari and the McLaren. We missed some good points”
Gasly believes AlphaTauri’s improved form, which is set to be boosted by incremental upgrades between now and May’s Spanish Grand Prix, also encouraged the team for what lies ahead, starting with next week’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola.
“Looking at the positives I think the whole weekend we’ve showed some really strong pace in qualifying, the lengthy run on Friday looked strong and I believe we’d have been at the fight with the Ferrari and the McLaren,” he added.
“It did not happen, so now we just have to keep doing our work and focus on the next one and also make sure we get the things there.
“I’m sure we’ll be back fighting with them for the next ones.”