Pierre Gasly says Red Bull was “too optimistic” with its approach to qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix on Saturday after finishing 17th following a strategy miscall.

Gasly was kept in the pits for the closing stages of Q1 as Red Bull believed he had met the cut-off time to advance to Q2 without completing a second run, only to be shuffled down the order and eliminated in the first stage of qualifying.

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While teammate Max Verstappen was able to qualify on the second row of the grid, Gasly was left disappointed by his second straight Q1 exit in Australia.

The Frenchman explained after the session how the rapid track improvement had caught Red Bull out.

“I think we’ve been too optimistic as a team. We didn’t expect the track to improve that much on the second set,” Gasly said.

“After the first lap - it was a pretty good lap - we thought we would make it through, and was too optimistic.

“They gave me a cut-off time which I made, but I think we just got caught out by the track evolution which was a lot bigger than previous years.

“There is no-one really to blame. It is just a miscalculation, and we just need to review the way we approach things and maybe be a bit more careful in our approach.”

Despite the setback, Gasly took some heart from Verstappen’s performance as the Dutchman managed to split Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vetel and Charles Leclerc on the grid.

“I think it’s positive to see that we have the potential. I think we knew that,” Gasly said.

“I think I felt better after free practice, FP3 was good. Even on that first lap in Q1, got a bit of traffic, but overall it was a decent lap. I think I ended up one-tenth behind Max.

“I think the pace was clearly there. It’s just a shame to miss out for six-hundredths. We clearly had the pace to go into Q3."

Additional reporting by Michael Lamonato.

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