Traffic was ‘busier than rush hour in London or Paris’ says Pierre Gasly

Pierre Gasly wide eyed on the grid. Saudi Arabia March 2022 Credit: Alamy
Pierre Gasly wide eyed on the grid. Saudi Arabia March 2022 Credit: Alamy

Pierre Gasly bemoaned the traffic levels during Abu Dhabi Grand Prix qualifying and said they were busier than rush hour in London or Paris.

The Frenchman ended his final qualifying session for AlphaTauri with disappointment as he was knocked out in Q1, 0.077 seconds separating him from a place in the next round.

It means he will start Sunday’s race in 17th place, his joint worst position of the season, but there was another issue causing the 26-year-old concern – traffic.

Sebastian Vettel was the loudest critic during the session having twice found himself stuck behind Red Bull cars in the final sector. The German did very well to avoid joining Gasly through the Q1 exit door as he weaved his way through the traffic on his flying lap.

Some cars had even appeared to be stationary on the track as they looked to make room for their own runs.

After his elimination, Gasly described the Abu Dhabi circuit as “busier than rush hour in London or Paris”.

“It wasn’t easy,” he told the media including PlanetF1. “But I think it was the case for everyone. It wasn’t ideal.

“I didn’t manage to improve in the last few tenths and lost quite a bit of time in the first sector, so could have been better. But at the end of the day, I think pretty much everybody was compromised.

“All weekend we played a bit of catch-up, didn’t really manage to set up the car the way I wanted and we tried with three rounds, but just like a couple of hundredths to make it to Q2.”

Gasly has failed to score points in the last four races and faces a tough ask to end that streak in Sunday’s race. The Frenchman admitted it has been hard to take and is not how he wanted to end his time with AlphaTauri.

“I look at it with a positive approach but I’m super-competitive, so when I get out of the car in these positions I need some time before I can really swallow everything in,” he said.

“Last year was much more entertaining and exciting. But still, at the end of the day, every single time I’m out there I just want to do well and I will always push the team forward no matter what, until the last moment.

“But for sure, I would have preferred there was a slightly better qualifying but we have another chance tomorrow.”

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher

Read more: Toto Wolff dismisses Mercedes qualifying performance as ‘one to put in the toilet’

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