Pierre Gasly says a “massive step” forward has been key to his strongest weekend of the 2019 Formula 1 season so far after qualifying fifth for the British Grand Prix.

The Red Bull driver topped opening practice was much closer to teammate Max Verstappen throughout the early sessions of the weekend before securing his joint-best qualifying result of the season in fifth.

Gasly ended up just 0.314s behind Verstappen in Q3 and outpaced Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in an impressive performance during qualifying at Silverstone.

“I think it was the strongest weekend of the year,” Gasly said.

“We had a good practice, it was important to get a good starting position, and that’s what we get for tomorrow with a fifth place on the grid, so I think strongest weekend so far.

“Everybody is trying to push and help the performance. It’s not like one thing that didn’t work, it’s a lot of things, it’s like a big puzzle and you have to put all the pieces together.

“We are missing a couple of pieces and we’re all working to find how to work this out and get the maximum out of it. They’ve been really supportive.

“It’s good to see what we have done is paying off. It’s still not perfect and we want more, but I think it’s clearly a lot better than what we did before.”

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said after the Austrian Grand Prix - where Gasly finished seventh and a lap down on race-winner Verstappen - that the Frenchman needed a mental “Ctrl+Alt+Del” reset in order to turn around his season.

Asked if that is what he has been able to achieve during the break between Austria and Silverstone, Gasly replied: “To be fair, the last 10 days, except working really hard with the team and having meetings and discussing what we need to do better, on my side and on their side, I spent exactly the same time back at home, I trained in the same way.

“I’m confident things are going to get better together. It’s just finding out with the team these few missing pieces of the puzzle that we missed.

“I don’t think I have reset, I don’t think I have changed my driving massively compared to last week. I think we put a lot more things together which seemed to work.

“We still need a few things, but on every aspect, we’ve made a step forward this weekend.

“It’s not a breakthrough, but what I’m happy about is that there were quite a lot of things to improve,” he added.

“As I said coming here, we had a plan on what changes to make these things better, and we clearly made a step forward. I think it’s a massive step.

“Calling it a breakthrough, we’ll see how it goes tomorrow and which sort of race we have. I’m clearly happy about what we have changed and to see that it’s paying off.”

 

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