Pierre Gasly started the second part of the season with the right foot since he showed that AlphaTauri is in good shape by ending both Free Practice sessions in the top five.
In FP1 he finished behind Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen, ending the session in P3. Then, he put his AlphaTauri in P5 in the second free practice session.
“I must say, coming back from summer break, we haven’t run in the car for a few weeks, all the mechanics and engineers have been away, so it’s good to restart in the best shape possible,” said Gasly. “And that’s exactly what we did this morning with the third [fastest] time, and this afternoon with the fifth-fastest time. So very positive start, and it’s good to see.”
Despite the good result on Friday, the French driver said that there is still room for improvement, and the team is working on it.
“There’s always some extra speed to find, and I think we know the areas to focus on,” Gasly added. “The weather, we saw it today, the track conditions have changed five or six times since this morning, so tomorrow could be wet. We need to be prepared for all sorts of conditions, but at least the baseline we have seems to work, and I’m just happy to be back driving and I hope we can confirm our good pace tomorrow.”
On the other hand, Yuki Tsunoda struggled a bit to find the pace. His goal for the weekend is to do fewer mistakes and to build up a strong pace.
“First session, the spin – I’m getting used to it, but it was not a good thing!” laughed Tsunoda after Friday’s running. “My main target this week was consistency and no big mistakes, so at the moment, it’s going well I think, in terms of building up and building the pace, feeling the car to make it better.
“I think as a team the pace is there. If I see Pierre’s pace, the car is there, so I just need to adjust a little bit the last bit in qualifying, but until then just try and keep this pace, keep building up and we’ll see what’s going to happen tomorrow.”
Tsunoda concluded by saying that he enjoyed racing at Spa in the junior categories, and he likes the track in a Formula 1 car too so he will try to achieve the best result possible.
“I have good memories from the last two years here in the junior categories. And I feel the same in a Formula 1 car as well, so I’ll just enjoy it, keep focused and try to be Q3 in qualifying.”