Pierre Gasly says getting caught up behind the pit-lane collision meant he became cut adrift from the field at the Hungarian Grand Prix restart.
Nothing went right for the Frenchman during the first few laps in Budapest, where he was delighted to have secured a “best of the rest” P5 grid slot – one place higher than he finished.
The AlphaTauri driver was fortunate not to be directly involved in the first-corner melee that ended the chances of several rivals, but he was severely compromised by having to run very wide at Turn 1 which sent him tumbling to the bottom of the order.
On the restart, at the back of the pack for the formation lap, Gasly entered the pits for slick tyres on a quickly-drying circuit like everyone else bar leader Lewis Hamilton.
But amidst the chaos with 14 drivers all trying to reach their ‘box’ at more or less the same time, Kimi Raikkonen was released into the path of Nikita Mazepin and their cars collided, damaging the Haas and putting the Russian-born driver out of the race.
With AlphaTauri’s garage right next to Alfa Romeo’s, Gasly found his exit route blocked by the stricken Haas and it prevented him from making the progress he had been hoping for when the race began in earnest.
“It was pretty obvious [to fit slicks] but then I got stuck in the pit lane,” Gasly told Formula 1.
“I don’t know what happened with the Haas but I lost all the positions – I didn’t even start the race at the same time as the others, I was already dropped by that time.
“A lot of things happened, we were not very lucky, but still we recovered, scored some good points, so I think we can be happy to have recovered to sixth position.”
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After the carnage at Turn 1, Gasly was left thinking he had actually been disadvantaged by his excellent grid slot due to his proximity to the crash triggered by Valtteri Bottas on a greasy circuit dampened by a rain shower.
“Luckily we didn’t get damage from it, compared to Max [Verstappen], Lando [Norris], Checo [Perez] too,” said Gasly.
“The target was to qualify high in the midfield, that’s what we did, and in the end we can say we almost over-performed when we qualified ahead of the Ferraris and the McLarens.
“But in the end, it would have been better to be in our natural position, slightly further back, and benefit from this situation. You never know when these things will happen but it’s just a shame.
“From the first corner we were dead last and in such a track it is extremely difficult to recover, so we had a really good day to still finish P6 but we should have been looking at the podium.
“It’s a bit disappointing because we think there would have been more to do if we had been slightly luckier at the start.”
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