It was a tough day for Scuderia AlphaTauri after a promising qualifying session on Saturday. Both drivers lost positions at the start, and then Yuki Tsunoda suffered a car malfunction late in the race that resulted in a DNF, while Pierre Gasly just missed the points-scoring positions in 11th.
Finishing P11 is never a great feeling, we tried our best to make it into the points, but I don’t think we quite had the pace to make it possible today. Ultimately, we lack a little performance compared to the other cars around us. We lost some time in the first stint and struggled on the Mediums in traffic. I think there are still some positives to take away from this weekend. Though we knew this would be a track we would struggle on, the pace on the Hards this afternoon looked competitive. We’re now heading to Monza for the last of the European races, where I hope we’ll be able to come back stronger.
It’s been a disappointing day, as we were hoping to finish in the points heading into the race, and our pace looked quite good. We dropped back a few places at the start of the race but were slowly making our way forward again and were optimistic we could finish in the top 10. Unfortunately, after I stopped for the Hards, I felt there was an issue with the car. The team could not see anything at that stage, so they called me in to change the tyres. However, when I went back out, I could still feel something was wrong, which the team confirmed by radio, and we had to retire the car.
Claudio Balestri (Chief Engineer – Vehicle Performance)
Today, the target was to score points; unfortunately, we didn’t manage that. We started with both cars on Softs, knowing we needed to manage the tyres carefully. In the fight at the first lap, we lost a few positions to Ocon and Stroll, so for most of the first stint, we were in P11 with Yuki and P12 with Pierre. Pierre ran in traffic for 10 laps and therefore suffered more tyre degradation, meaning he also lost a position to Alonso, so after a few laps, we called him in to fit the Mediums.
We then did the same with Yuki for his second stint. In this middle part of the race, with both cars on Mediums, we were not able to keep the pace of the two Alpines in front. We could see the Hard compound was very competitive on the other cars around us, so we decided to stop Gasly and fit the Hards, whilst we let Yuki continue on the Mediums for a more extended second stint.
Having seen that the compound was working well, we decided to also pit Yuki for them. After the pit stop, he reported something strange at the rear of the car, we called him in again to change the tyres and immediately after, we had a car failure. This is currently under investigation within the team. At the end of the race, when the Safety Car was deployed, due to Bottas stopping on track at the end of the main straight, we decided to stay out to unlap Pierre and then we pitted the lap after, fitting Options. When the Safety Car came in, Pierre was in P11, just behind Stroll, both on the exact tyre, but the Aston Martin was very fast in the last corner, and we could not get past him to enter into the points. Now we need to switch our thoughts to preparing for the next Monza race.