8 September 2014
GP2 Monza: Tough first weekend for Caterham's Gasly
Red Bull Junior driver Pierre Gasly made his first appearance for Caterham on the GP2 grid this weekend at Monza, but took some hard knocks on Sunday.
Pierre Gasly will have learned a lot from his maiden GP2 race weekend with Caterham at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, even though his time in the car was cut short on Sunday when he was involved in a big crash with Russian Time's Artem Markelov down the backstraight.
"I don't know exactly what happened but I was hit and ended up it the barrier," said the 18-year-old Frenchman, who took over the race seat from his compatriot Tom Dillmann just days before the race.
"We had no preparation for this weekend as it was all very quick and we will work harder for Sochi as we have some time to learn how to work together," he pointed out.
"The first few corners were quite good and I regained a couple of places until Ascari, where there were many cars who had been in the gravel re-joining the track really slowly.
"The people directly in front were very slow because of the incidents, so I had to try to avoid and overtake them. In the straight at Ascari I tried to pass [Nathanael] Berthon."
After that, contact led to both himself and Markelov spinning out into the Armco barrier on the left hand side of the track, and the race stewards subsequently deemed Gasly to have been responsible for the accident that triggered a safety car for the clean-up of the cars and debris. He now faces a five-place grid drop for the next feature race as a result.
"I am really frustrated because the car felt good in the first few corners, so I really wanted to see what we could do today with the improvements we have done since yesterday,' sighed Gasly, who had finished his first feature race in 17th place the previous day.
"For sure it will be better for me at the next race now that I have a first experience in the GP2 car and thank you to everyone who has made this possible," said Red Bull Junior driver, who is also continuing to race in the Formula Renault 3.5 championship for the remainder of 2014.
Gasly's more experienced team mate Rio Haryanto scarcely had a better time of it. Finishing only one place ahead of his young team mate on Saturday, the 21-year-old Indonesian was also forced off track during the first lap on Sunday and sustained damage to his front wing that left him struggling for the rest of the race.
"I was taking it cautiously into the first corner as it looked messy and I knew it would be a long race," he said. "I went off the track and then clipped one of the Carlin cars.
"I had to box for a new front wing and after that the damaged steering meant I could not turn to the left and get back up to speed," he revealed.
Haryanto struggled on and eventually finished the race in 16th place, leaving him pointless for the Monza weekend and looking forward to the next race in October for better luck.
"Hopefully in Russia we can have a good weekend," he agreed.
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