Pierre Gasly reflected on an eventful penultimate day with Toro Rosso with optimism feeling he has nothing to lose ahead of the 2018 finale in Abu Dhabi after a hairy practice moment with Romain Grosjean plus a Honda engine issue in Q1.

Gasly angrily remonstrated with Grosjean on track when he clashed aerodynamic parts, damaging his bargeboard and floor in the process, but after reconciling with his fellow French driver he took blame off him for the near-miss.

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Grosjean had been preparing for a fast lap in the final sector, looking after his tyres going slowly, but was not made aware of Gasly’s fast approach over his team radio by Haas which forced the Toro Rosso driver into avoiding action.

Both drivers were summoned in front of the FIA Stewards but upon the review neither driver was penalised. Gasly instead feels the temperature-sensitive tyres are to blame with drivers having to go “1m 20s” slower on cool down laps at the Yas Marina Circuit.

“I think when you see it the pace we need to have on the cool down laps it doesn’t really make sense at the moment,” Gasly expalined. “1m 20s slower than a quick lap which is a massive delta speed between the cars.

“I came in fast and in like two seconds you travel a lot more distance than the others. Sometimes you look behind and three seconds later the guys that’s behind is right behind you.

“Romain came to apologise to me and told me his engineer didn’t really let him know and by the time he checked he didn’t see me coming. In the end he blocked me and in the heat of the moment I was really upset.

“He apologised and told me that nobody told him that I was coming and when he checked in his mirrors he didn’t see me and four seconds later I was already next to him.

“I think we need to look at having tyres which do not need 1m 20s to cool down. That will make things safer.”

With fresh car parts, Gasly then had his qualifying effectively wrecked when his Honda engine dropped a cylinder coming out of the penultimate corner on his final flying lap of Q1.

Having been up on the split times, Gasly was certain of making Q2 with a working engine and despite his lowly position of 17th on the starting grid he remains optimistic of a strong final showing for Toro Rosso ahead of his Red Bull graduation which starts next week at the post-season tyre test in Abu Dhabi.

“The car was good today, even if we didn’t have a clean FP3 and only two laps with a couple of issues at the end,” he said. “I was happy with the first run I did in qualifying and on the second set up to the last corner I was six-tenths up which would have put me P11 or P12.

“I felt good with the car but just before the last corner we lost one cylinder and then basically I lost all the power. It came back on throttle after the last corner but I didn’t have anything.”

“We have another engine available. I don’t know if we will need to do it but whatever we do I don’t think we should get any penalty. I am disappointed to end the last qualifying like this as the car was good enough to get into Q2. I don’t think we had the pace to get into Q3 but clearly we could fight for P12 or P11 just outside the top ten.”

 

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