Two cars in the top seven would usually be celebrated as a strong result for AlphaTauri, but Pierre Gasly believes he should have scored at least a podium in the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Gasly qualified an impressive fifth in Budapest but was forced to take avoiding action at Turn 1 after Valtteri Bottas triggered a multi-car crash, dropping the Frenchman to the back of the field. A recovery to sixth place – bumped up to fifth after Sebastian Vettel’s disqualification – was impressive given how far back Gasly was, but with Esteban Ocon winning from eighth on the grid he views the race as a missed opportunity.
“I don’t know what to say except that Valtteri ****** up, took the first six cars pretty much out of the race, so… Luckily we didn’t get damage from it, compared to Max [Verstappen], Lando [Norris]. Checo [Perez] too,” Gasly said.
“You know, the target was to qualify high in the midfield, to be in the best possible position for the race, that’s what we did and, in the end we can say we almost over-performed when we qualified ahead of the Ferrari and the McLaren, but, in the end, it would have been better to be in our natural position, slightly further back and benefit from this situation. But you never know when these things will happen, but it’s just a shame.
“From the first corner we were dead last, and in such a track it is extremely difficult to recover, so we had a really good day to still finish P6, we managed to get the fastest lap, but we should have been looking at the podium. It’s a bit disappointing, because we think there would have been more to do if we had been slightly luckier at the start.”
After an engine issue on the way to the grid that saw him stop in the pit lane, Gasly suffered more pit lane troubles after getting caught behind a collision between Kimi Raikkonen and Nikita Mazepin when almost the entire field came in for medium tyres on the race restart.
We can say we almost over-performed when we qualified ahead of the Ferrari and the McLaren.
“It was pretty obvious [to fit mediums] but then I got stuck in the pit lane, I don’t know what happened with the Haas, but I lost all the positions, I didn’t even start the race at the same time as the others, I was already dropped by that time. A lot of things happened, we were not very lucky but, still, we recovered, scored some good points, so I think we can be happy to have recovered to 6th position.”
For Yuki Tsunoda, the race almost ran in reverse compared to his team mate as he started from 16th on the grid but benefitted from the opening lap drama to climb into the points.
“There was a big collision at Turn 1 on the first lap and I managed to jump into P5,” Tsunoda said. “After that I think the pace was okay. This whole week I struggled with car balance and in the race especially the middle to the end I was struggling a lot and I was just like a passenger, waiting for the car to turn and be stable, otherwise I would spin like I did in the middle of the race.
Yuki Tsunoda’s ‘unseen’ spin in closing stages of 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix
“So we have to really solve this problem, but as a team we got P6 and P7 with the points so from P16 I am happy.”
But the rookie won’t let the final result taint his view of the race weekend as a whole, having struggled from the first session and crashed in FP1.
“I mean, it was okay in the end, but if it’s like a normal race I don’t know if I can get points or not. So I won’t rest. For me it was the worst race week – until the race – this year, so I have to really analyse and try to work hard on what’s the issue, and I’ll be back in Spa.”