Pierre Gasly says he drew inspiration from Ayrton Senna on his way to recording his “best-ever” qualifying performance in Formula 1 at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Sporting a special helmet design paying tribute to three-time world champion Senna - who tragically lost his life at Imola in 1994 - Gasly matched his best qualifying result from the 2019 German Grand Prix to claim a brilliant fourth on the grid on what is F1’s first visit to the circuit in 14 years.

Gasly, who has been confirmed as staying at AlphaTauri for next season, was just three tenths off the pace managed by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and was able to out-qualify the man who replaced him at the senior team, Alex Albon.

“For me it’s a great day,” Gasly said. “I did my best qualifying for the team, P4 I think was also my best in Red Bull, so it’s my best ever in Formula 1, and to do it in Imola, is also very special.

“Obviously for me, I did this special helmet for Ayrton because I’ve always been a big, big fan of Senna since I was a kid. He was one of my idols, and it was important for me to do it here, but also for all the team, because they are only 15 kilometres from this track. So it’s a great start to the weekend.”

And Gasly is aiming to convert his P4 starting position into another strong result in Sunday’s race as he looks to continue his impressive run of form during the 2020 season.

“It’s so tight in the midfield – I think from P4 to P10 is like three, four-tenths, so it will be important to keep to position at the start,” he explained.

“I expect a tough battle with Daniel [Ricciardo] with Charles [Leclerc] and all the other guys. But I think we are in a good position; P4 is probably the best position we can start from so we need to keep it and try to get as many points as we can.”