Pierre Gasly says fifth on the grid for the Hungarian Grand Prix was unexpected as he beat both Ferraris and McLarens in Formula 1 qualifying. Gasly showed impressive pace throughout Friday practice, ending both sessions inside the top seven.
With McLaren often finding performance overnight and Ferrari expected to go well at the Hungaroring, the AlphaTauri driver wasn’t expecting to be best of the rest behind F1’s two top teams.
“Yeah, to be honest, we didn’t expect to be ahead of Ferrari and McLaren,” Gasly told Sky Sports F1. “So this was a really good surprise. I was really happy with my lap in Q3. I knew when I closed it that this was a good one, but still didn’t expect to be right in front of them and for very small margin we managed to make it happen, so really pleased with this fifth place.”
The Frenchman expects McLaren and Ferrari to be stronger in race trim but due to the difficulties in overtaking at the Hungaroring, Gasly is confident of fending them off should he make a good start.
“Yeah, tomorrow that [fifth] is gonna be the target,” Gasly added. “You know, we know they’re fast, they have fast cars, but we’ve got the track position, and I expect a very tight battle. It’s gonna be a long race. Not gonna be easy with the tyres, probably going to be a lot of fighting with the guys behind, but I’m really excited about it.
“On long runs we seem to struggle a little bit more. But on a track like Budapest, the track position is so important because it’s so hard to overtake, so I think the key for us will be to get a good start. And then from there try to hold to that fifth position. We expect the two top teams to pull away and use that free air to keep the tires as we want them and yeah, the main target was to be qualified as far forward as we could, and I think today we achieved that.”