#21 Pierre Gasly (FRA – Prema Dallara-Mecachrome)
Qualifying 1: 2nd – Race 1 Grid: 2nd – Race 1 Result: 1st
Reverse Grid (Top 8) Race 2 Grid: 8th – Race 2 Result: 7th
GP2 Series: 3rd – 74 points – after 10 of 22 races
Pierre Gasly scored a superb victory in Race 1 at Silverstone and jumped to the top of the GP2 points table. The 20-year-old Frenchman was in wonderful form, fastest in Free Practice, second in Qualifying and perfect in the 29 lap feature race, heading a brilliant 1-2 for the Prema Team.
The Red Bull Junior had been looking for that first GP2 victory and it was especially sweet. "It feels fantastic, honestly," he laughed. "Lots of hard work, and it's been tough in the last two years in GP2: a few opportunities where I had the speed to win but was never able to make it happen, which was really frustrating."
"Mentally you need to keep working and making a lot of effort to make it happen, and since the beginning of the year with Prema Racing I felt we had the opportunities, we were fast in testing and in the races: last weekend I missed my chance by making a mistake in Spielberg's Feature Race, and I really wanted to take my revenge this weekend! We made it to the end this time, and it feels really good."
So often things hinge on Friday and it was a great start to the weekend. "Overall it was a pretty good day. We had the fastest lap in Free Practice, the car felt good and the pace was good too. In Qualifying, we set the fastest time on the first run, I felt in great shape with the car and the soft tyres. I knew I could improve in a few places so we did not modify the car much."
"We went out for a second run with new tyres, I was improving my sectors by 5 tenths until turn 13 but then the red flag went out so I was forced to abort the lap and come back to the pits. That's where we lost pole position. We went out again but it wasn't ideal for the tyres and we managed to improve only by a tenth. It wasn't enough for pole."
It may hinge on Friday but points are won on Saturday. "It's been a fantastic day! We won the race starting from P2 but it wasn't really easy. We started on option tyres and I tried to maintain them as long as I could. Then we pitted 1 lap later than Rowland and Antonio. After that we basically had to go as quick as possible to catch up Nato who was in the lead and try to make a gap."
"I pushed a lot as I wanted this victory badly. I missed out in the Red Bull Ring due to my mistake so it feels amazing to win today after so much hard work which didn't pay off. Hopefully it will be a turnaround for us and we can keep it up until the end of the season. I am really happy for the team as they are doing an impressive job and deserve the P1 and P2 result today."
All to play for
The sprint race on Sunday morning was a let down after the previous two days and seventh place cost Gasly the points lead. "It was a bit difficult in Race 2. I had a poor start and I dropped quite a lot in the first lap. I was a bit in the wrong places and I also lost a few positions dropping down to P12 and then after I had to fight in the first laps damaging the front left tyre which compromised my race quite a lot."
"The degradation was quite high after that. I managed to recover a few positions, overtaking a few cars. After the middle of the race I was kind of stuck with my tyres and could not push any more. I just tried to save my position and the points which are always very good to have. Overall it was harder comparing to yesterday but we will now analyse why and focus on preparing Budapest," Gasly concluded. He stands third in the points table, just five points off the top with mid season in Hungary in two weeks.