Pierre Gasly says he has “more fire than before” and a greater level of determination following his demotion from Toro Rosso to Red Bull, calling the last few weeks ‘emotionally intense’.

Gasly returned to Toro Rosso for the Belgian Grand Prix following a difficult first 12 races driving for Red Bull, swapping seats with Alexander Albon for the remainder of the season.

Gasly finished ninth at Spa before narrowly missing out on points at Monza, closely matching teammate Daniil Kvyat through his opening two races back with Toro Rosso.

Speaking in Singapore on Thursday, Gasly opened up about a difficult few weeks that also saw the death of friend Anthoine Hubert, citing the importance of support from his friends and family through this period.

“It’s been an intense last few weeks emotionally. A lot going on and it hasn’t been the easiest time,” Gasly said.

“I think now in a way I’m happy with where I am with the team and the way we’ve worked with the first few weekends, with the engineers and what you get from the car.

“The race weekend goes by so fast you can’t really explore so much. But I feel like we are more prepared and going in the direction that we need. So I’m pretty happy.

“A lot of my friends as well have been involved and touched, and my family as well, I have a big family. There have been moments when we’ve all needed to regroup and be there for each other and just spend time with each other.

“Inside me, I have more fire than before, because I know what I can achieve in these few weekends with Toro Rosso.

“For sure it hasn’t been the easiest time with all the external things that have happened, but my focus and determination is even higher than before.”

One of the biggest challenges Gasly has faced is adjusting to a brand new Formula 1 car mid-season, which he said was an ongoing process.

”It feels different in many ways. It’s difficult to compare the two cars where they are,” Gasly said of the differences between the Red Bull RB15 and Toro Rosso’s STR14 car.

“It is surprising to me how much different the feeling can be between two Formula 1 cars. Of course, I’m still not 100 percent comfortable in the car, for me to be more competitive after two races.

“But I’m feeling quite comfortable, I can extract the performance from the car. There are things we can adjust to my liking but this comes from more time with the engineers to get more comfortable in the Toro Rosso.”