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Gasly unhappy with Toro Rosso strategy after Suzuka disappointment

Written by  Oct 08, 2018

Pierre Gasly blames a poor strategy for the inability to convert Toro Rosso's best qualifying into a points finish at the Japanese Grand Prix.

The junior Red Bull team had both drivers in the top seven on the grid after mixed weather and an upgraded Honda engine gave them a strong boost in qualifying.

On a circuit owned by their engine supplier at Suzuka, it was hoped the Japanese manufacturer could score their first points at home since 2006 but a late pass by Carlos Sainz on Gasly saw the Frenchman drop to 11th.

"It was a good start as I managed to overtake Brendon [Hartley] and the first stint was great," he noted.

"I felt good with the car behind Romain [Grosjean] and I was pretty close to him, but I don't know why we went so long on the first stint, so we got undercut by four or five cars."

Perhaps the reason was clearer, however, when the 22-year-old struggled on the Soft compound after his later pit-stop.

"I enjoyed the battles and overtakes on the first few laps, but then I started to have massive blisters on the rear tyres," he revealed.

"It was difficult to see on the straight because the rear tyres were square."

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On a weekend where so much was expected, particularly after qualifying, the disappointment felt by Gasly was obvious.

"I don't want to speak about it… At the end I was just trying to survive the 20 last laps," he said glumly

"It could have been better today so we need to analyse more deeply what happened.

"We probably didn’t make the best decisions, but that happens sometimes, it’s easy to say in hindsight that we could have made different choices.

"It’s just a shame after such a good qualifying yesterday, it would have been great to reward the team and Honda here in Japan for their home race with some points today."

Teammate Hartley suffered an even more miserable afternoon, dropping outside the points after a poor start and eventually wound up 13th in another example of why the Kiwi is unlikely to remain on the grid in 2019.

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