#21 Pierre Gasly (FRA – Prema Dallara-Mecachrome)
Qualifying 1: 8th – Race 1 Grid: 8th – Race 1 Result: DNF (accident)
Reverse Grid (Top 8) Race 2 Grid: 18th – Race 2 Result: 2nd
GP2 Series: 4th – 45 points – after 6 of 22 races
From 18th on the grid in the GP2 sprint race in Baku to the second step of the podium was a sensational effort from Pierre Gasly. Only beaten by his Prema team mate Antonio Giovinazzi on the final lap, the Red Bull Junior was in superb form. The 20-year-old Frenchman had speed all weekend but disruption of his qualifying run cost him grid position and he was taken out at the first corner in Race 1.
There were only 10 finishers in the dramatic Race 1. Gasly was only one of 12 who did not make it and lined up 18th for Sunday's 21 lap thriller. There was just as much drama but this time Gasly was able to stay out of trouble and take advantage of the chaos and the safety cars. With a handful of laps to go Gasly grabbed the lead. He was soon under pressure from Giovinazzi though and Gasly had already asked a lot of his tires as he cut through the field.
Gasly defended well but finally pushed too hard, was a touch wide and Giovinazzi stole past. "It was a crazy race. I really enjoyed it," grinned Gasly. "I was P18 on the grid with many cars in front of me so I had to recover pretty fast to be in the points. I had to be opportunistic with all the safety cars and find some good spots to overtake but I think I managed that quite well since I finished P2. I had a lot of fun."
"I was pissed off when Antonio overtook me at Turn 1 on the final lap but I was struggling with my tyres so I knew I couldn't make it. I pushed a lot at the beginning to overtake. I tried to save the tyres as much as I could but it was not enough to keep the lead. But I'm happy with the result."
A lot better but not enough
On the podium again after a fast but points free Monaco, Gasly said he hoped it was a turning point. "It's not the weekend I wanted. Yesterday, I wasn't able to finish the race as I was out at Turn 1. Since Monte Carlo, we are not very lucky and we have had troubles but I think today the luck has turned around."
"Hopefully, it will be the same for the rest of the season. I would love to have a normal race weekend without any trouble," he added with a laugh. "We have a strong car; it's really competitive so we can achieve great things. The team is doing a good job so if we manage to keep these conditions in the future, it will be really positive for all of us and we will be able to fight for the top positions and hopefully for the title."