F1 debutant Pierre Gasly admitted that he expects to find resting up easy after two long days in the cockpit at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona.
The Frenchman swapped Toro Rosso for Red Bull on day two of the first in-season F1 test, completing 75 laps for the four-time world champions despite a reliability issue that sidelined him for some time. His fastest lap, a 1m 26.683s effort late in the day, proved good enough for third on the overall timesheet, six-tenths behind pacesetter Jolyon Palmer – who had the benefit of running supersoft Pirellis – but ahead of veteran Jenson Button.
“I will sleep well tonight,” he smiled, “During the two days, it was alright and I did the job until the end. I feel a bit tired now, but still okay. Until the last lap, I gave 100 per cent and I could feel that I was still controlling everything.
“I am really happy about it because, the first time you jump in an F1 car, I was expecting to struggle a bit physically, [although] I trained for quite a few years to be ready if, one day, I had the chance to be in a F1 car. Now it has happened and I am pretty happy about it.”
In any other season, swapping between the two Red Bull teams would have provided very different takes on their respective cars but, in 2015, the two are a lot closer.
“To be honest, the difference is really small,” Gasly confirmed, “In terms of lap time, it is pretty much the same. There were some small differences, but also the conditions were a bit different to yesterday – the wind was not in the same way - so we need to check the data further to understand a bit why the balance was like that.”
Having struggled to make his tyres last through the full lap while at the wheel of the Toro Rosso on Tuesday, GP2 frontrunner Gasly admitted to having made changes to his own way of doing things overnight.
“This track is pretty difficult for the tyres on one lap and, yesterday, I struggled all the time in the last sector.” he reported, “Today, I changed a bit my approach to driving and also the way I was pushing during the lap and it felt much better in the last sector. You have to be smooth – with 900hp, it is easy to get wheelspin on exit and make a mistake so you have to go step by step and, after a while, you get used to it. I think that is why I could improve a lot my lap time - each lap, I learned new things and it just got better lap after lap, so I think it was quite good at the end.”
RBR's programme and the still unexplained technical issue prevented Gasly from following Palmer onto the supersoft Pirelli at the end of the session, but the Frenchman was still satisfied with his day.
“We had to do a lot of aero tests, which were really important, and also, with the problem we had, we could not do exactly the programme we expected,” he insisted, “However, at the end, we managed to do a couple of runs with new mediums and the pace was good, so I am happy about it.
“Now I must impress in GP2 for the chance again to be back in the car...”