Gasly pit stop gamble under virtual safety car “didn’t pay off”

Pierre Gasly has admitted that the decision to pit him under the VSC at the Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix was a mistake that ended up costing him places.

The VSC came after Haas driver, Romain Grosjean went off at turn two into the run-off area, but failed to manoeuvre his way around the bollards put in place which drivers should have gone around before rejoining the track.

Grosjean ploughed through the bollards at speed, leaving the debris of the destroyed bollards everywhere.

This led to an immediate VSC call and AlphaTauri thought they may be able to get in a free pit stop as the other drivers made their way around the track slowly.

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They subsequently brought Gasly in for a new set of tyres, but as soon as they did, the VSC ended as the race marshalls had finished replacing the bollards. As a result, Gasly lost places and had to spend the rest of his race making them up again.

Speaking after the race, he told Sky F1, “It was a bit of the gamble. If it was slightly longer it could have paid off quite well. In the end as soon as we came in it went green again so it wasn’t so lucky timing.”

During the remaining laps of the race, Gasly managed to make up the places he lost to come home ninth – where he qualified. However, he did get a small reward when he passed Alex Albon in the Red Bull.

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Overall Gasly seemed to rue what could have been as he felt that there was much more on offer to him in the race.

“In the end we managed to recover to P9 and overtake Alex and Lando. Honestly the car was good today, I felt like we could have fought for slightly more especially the start of the race was good.

“When I see where I finished I think the middle part of the race we lost too much time fighting but generally I think our race pace was pretty good. I was a bit disappointed with P9 in the end because I really felt like the car pace was slightly better, especially when I cleared Kimi on the second stint.

“I was looking forward to a nice battle for the last couple of laps for P7. The virtual safety car came out, we gambled, it didn’t pay off this time but that’s how it is.”