AlphaTauri rue medium tyre call with Gasly after Ricciardo contact

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Starting Pierre Gasly on medium tyres might have actually contributed to his race-defining contact with Daniel Ricciardo, AlphaTauri suggest.

The Frenchman was one of the stars of qualifying, claiming fifth, and was also the only non-Red Bull and Mercedes driver to successfully use the yellow-striped compound in Q2 to make it into Q3.

However, fighting with the two McLarens at the restart after the early Safety Car, Gasly just tagged the rear of Ricciardo's car at Turn 5, dropping him out of contention.

“Very disappointed right now because we had a very strong weekend since we arrived, and starting on P5 I was hoping for some good points,” Gasly, who later retired, said.

“It was pretty much over after the contact with Daniel. I don’t really know exactly what happened, I need to review the footage to know whether I braked too late or exactly what happened.

"But the race was pretty much over, I broke the front wing, I had floor damage, and was a minute behind so really disappointed.”

It was AlphaTauri boss Franz Tost who then admitted the medium tyres, which would have given Gasly greater strategic options, could have contributed to his downfall.

"Maybe the softer compound would have prevented the accident, as the grip on the mediums after the Safety Car was quite low," he commented.

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“From then onwards, Pierre’s race was compromised as he also had damage to the floor, which meant quite a big loss of performance. Nevertheless, in his last stint he showed some fantastic lap times and was really one of the fastest out there.

“Unfortunately, we had to retire him towards the end of the race for a suspected gearbox issue that we need to investigate further.

"At the end, he couldn’t score any points, but he did a fantastic job in qualifying and he showed the race pace was there – he was just unlucky.”

That left Yuki Tsunoda to carry the AlphaTauri cause, finishing ninth on debut after a strong race.