Pierre Gasly admits some frustration had built up during his first season with Alpine, but was released with his first podium for the team at the Dutch Grand Prix.
Alpine has shown strong speed at times this year but missed opportunities for some big results on Gasly’s side of the garage, leaving him with 22 points and a best finish of seventh in a grand prix heading into the race at Zandvoort. Third in the Sprint in Belgium hinted at the potential of the partnership and just one race after a change of team management Gasly scored a strong podium in wet conditions, something he says is partly down to the team’s resilience.
“It was extremely tricky today,” Gasly said. “All the conditions were pretty much thrown at us from the start. We ended up on slicks in the dry, in damp conditions, then feeding the inters on the wet, but then on a drying track. It was all about adapting yourself to the conditions and really playing with the limits.
“After the summer break I was really excited to get back in the car and today was probably the most fun I’ve had all season. Very exciting to be fighting for these positions. And yeah, they were important goals to make but the whole team executed a very strong race.
“I’m pleased because we haven’t been very fortunate since the start of the year, kind of involved in some unfortunate situations on many occasions…which kind of built some frustration, but you’ve got to keep your head down and always trying to improve what you can on yourself, and today it paid off. Big congrats to the guys and a great way to restart the second part of the year.”
One potential point of controversy occurred when Max Verstappen overtook Gasly early on in the race in wet conditions, diving to the inside of Turn 3 but running the Frenchman out of road, something Gasly — who finished fourth on the road but gained a place due to a time penalty for Sergio Perez — felt was close to the limit but an understandable move.
“I think I’ve I finished more than 5s behind Max, so it doesn’t really matter to me,” Gasly quipped. “Depends how much Fernando [Alonso] pays me. Then we can discuss how much you’re willing to give!
“It was a wheel-to-wheel battle and Max knew that if you’ll push me slightly wider on the paint in the wet, if I put a wheel on there, then I’ll just understeer wide. It was on the limit. If I’ll be in his position, and you’ve got to pass a car, you’ll play with the limit and that’s why you will try. I’m not too fussy about it. Yeah, it’s just racing. And close racing.”