Pierre Gasly has described his fourth-place finish at the Bahrain Grand Prix as feeling like a Formula 1 race victory for Toro Rosso. 

After a brilliant performance to set the sixth fastest time in his Honda-powered Toro Rosso during qualifying, the Frenchman started from fifth after Lewis Hamilton was hit by a five-place grid penalty for changing his gearbox.

Gasly profited from Daniel Ricciardo’s retirement to move into fourth, a position he held throughout during a lonely run to the chequered flag, securing his best finish in F1 as well as matching the Faenza-based squad’s second-best ever result. 

Fourth place also handed Honda a timely boost as the Japanese engine manufacturer celebrated its best result since returning to F1, following a disastrous three-year spell with McLaren. 

“For the team it feels like [a win],” Gasly said. “It's the best result for Honda as well since they came back. To give the best result of Honda in the last 10 years, after the experience I had with them in Super Formula, I had quite a close relationship with them.

“I think it's just building the confidence of everyone and show them that we need to keep pushing because we have a good potential this year. They had a tough couple of years. It's a great way to motivate them and show them they need to be pushing. 

“To have my best qualifying ever in Q3 already was massively satisfying, but I think nothing can beat the feeling that we had with this fourth position. For me, honestly, it's just amazing. 

“I never expected at the beginning of the season to be fighting for this kind of position,” he added. “Of course as a driver, I'm a super-competitive person, and I want to be at the top, but you need to give time to everything."

Gasly revealed he had to contend with a “scary” brake problem during the early stages in Bahrain, which caused his car to experience a sudden loss of performance. 

“I think after 10 or 11 laps, I lost the brake in Turn 11. The car started to slow down massively and I lost like 1.5 seconds. I was like 'what's going on, what's going on?' 

“It just came back straight after, but it was a bit scary. After that, everything went super well. The strategy was great, the car was fast, and I managed to put some quick laps.”