Alpine driver Pierre Gasly revealed the team “expected” to be knocked out in Q1, with both he and Esteban Ocon having exited qualifying at the first stage on Saturday.
Gasly took his first podium for Alpine last time out at the Dutch Grand Prix, but the team have struggled for pace at Monza this weekend, with he and Ocon locking out the ninth row on the grid for the Italian Grand Prix.
This represents a significant drop on where Alpine were this time on Sunday, but with Monza representing a very different challenge to Zandvoort, Gasly revealed he and Alpine had been priming themselves for this outcome.
Pierre Gasly: Alpine ‘two seconds off the pace’ at Monza
Additional reporting by Thomas Maher
Given straight-line speed is imperative at the fastest circuit of the year, that is an area where Alpine have traditionally struggled compared to their rivals in recent seasons.
Gasly admitted that the long straights at Monza make it “the toughest weekend of the year” for the team, despite the “optimism” he brought with him into qualifying.
“Well, unfortunately, all weekend, I was quite happy with the car balance but we’ve just been two seconds off the pace the whole time,” Gasly admitted to media including PlanetF1.com after qualifying.
“We knew coming here to Monza will be the toughest weekend of the year with all these long straights.
“Yeah, it’s clearly been the case, so we expected to be out in Q1, but you always have optimism that maybe with the hard tyre or something, you know, you could get through, but that’s all we had, unfortunately, and it’s a difficult weekend so far.
“You know, if you look at GPS, and it’s very clear on where we’re losing and we knew that we maximised everything we could but the package doesn’t suit the layout.
“So I think we will have to analyse, review and come up with better solutions for next year.”
Gasly made up a heap of places at a wet Zandvoort last weekend, but with a dry forecast and a circuit not suiting the characteristics of the A523, he is not expecting a repeat this time around, but he will do all he can on Sunday to salvage the best outcome possible.
“We’re obviously going to try to get something out of it,” Gasly said.
“We’ll see in terms of strategy what we want to do, but from where we are we’ve got to gamble a bit on something happening.
“So pure pace is not going to change tomorrow, but we’ll give our best chances and anything can happen until the last lap, so we’ve got to try and we’ll see, but definitely a slightly different feeling than last weekend.”
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