Lewis Hamilton took pole position for the inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix after his title rival Max Verstappen looked set to beat him only to crash at the final corner.
One team that came away from qualifying surely happy with their attempts was the team of Alpha Tauri, both Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda showing good pace to comfortably secure spots in the top 10 and putting themselves in all important points positions for the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix.
All important for Alpha Tauri in their hunt to overthrow Alpine racings 25 point lead, with the Alpine of Alonso and Ocon both falling short in qualifying, a drastic turn around from the performance in Qatar.
What Alpha Tauri had to say?
Pierre Gasly (P6) – “It’s been fantastic again today with another top six Qualifying position. This time it was a bit more difficult, I didn’t feel quite as confident in the car and I struggled with the balance throughout the session. I had to really work as we made our way through Quali, but I managed to put it altogether and I’m really pleased with my lap. I was only two-thousandths behind Sergio, which is nothing, so that’s a bit frustrating but at the end of the day it’s still a great starting position for tomorrow to score points.”
Yuki Tsunoda (P8) – “I’ve got some mixed feelings about today. I think my performance in Q1 and Q2 was great and I’m really pleased with that, but unfortunately on my final lap in Q3 I had traffic and I lost a lot of time. I think I could’ve been starting further up the grid tomorrow, so it’s frustrating right now. There are lots of positives to take away today though, particularly the fact that I made it through Q2 on the Mediums, so I’ll be starting on the same tyre as everyone else around me tomorrow. It’s a really great track to drive, so I’m looking forward to the race and hopefully we can come away with points.”
Jonathan Eddolls (Chief Race Engineer) – “The team and drivers have done a fantastic job today in Qualifying and I think it’s fair to say they managed to extract the most from the package under quite complicated circumstances, especially whilst trying to understand the tyres on this new circuit. From Friday we knew the car was quick, but we struggled to get the best lap early on in the run, so the focus during FP3 was to try to understand what was required to optimise the car for the first lap of the race. Although we made progress with our understanding in FP3, we still went into Quali with some unanswered questions. This meant that we effectively used Q1 as another practice session to learn more about the Soft tyre, to then help us in Q3, where it would be crucial to extract the most from it. It was a complicated Quali session, much like a wet session, as we made a number of changes to the plan based on the conditions we faced at the time, but the team reacted well and both drivers did a fantastic job throughout. We line up on our preferred side of the grid, with both cars inside the top 10 and starting on medium tyres. We made a number of changes to the car from Friday to improve the long run performance, so we will work hard tonight on the strategy and aim to bring home as many points as we can tomorrow.”
Main image credit Alpha Tauri PR