Pierre Gasly says the gains made by Honda with its upgraded power unit were made obvious by his need to use the previous specification of engine during qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix.
Honda introduced its first power unit update of the season in Montreal with both Toro Rosso drivers using it throughout Friday practice. However, a power loss late in FP3 left Gasly reverting to the previous specification as a precaution, avoiding a penalty but losing performance. While disappointed to be eliminated in Q1, Gasly says the ability to directly compare to the upgrade on the same circuit shows how much progress Honda has made.
“The step is quite big so in a way I’m really happy to see that the upgrades are working really well,” Gasly said. “It’s definitely a good step forward and it looks really promising for the coming races.
“After that it’s just a shame not to be able to use them, especially on a track like this where we knew that it would be important for us to bring some performance on the engine side here. I was really excited and everything looked great and then this morning after P3 they decided to revert back and in the end it cost us quite a lot in qualifying.
“I think it was really good because now we have an exact answer about the differences and we could clearly see that the upgrades are better. So as we said yesterday, you come here and it’s a new track, new conditions, a new downforce level and we both had the new upgrades so it was difficult to exactly know the gain.
“Now I think we can have a better understanding of the differences, so in the end it’s good — but it’s just a bit painful to be in this position because I think we had a good opportunity with the upgrades and I couldn’t get the most out of it.”
Teammate Brendon Hartley ended up 12th overall, 0.2s off a place in Q3 on a power-sensitive track, and Gasly believes he could have outqualified the two McLarens himself with a clear lap in Q1.
“Yeah I got a bit of traffic, so that lap in the end I think could have been 0.15s quicker which would have put us right into Q2, but then after that there wasn’t much we could have done. I think in the end in terms of position we could have ended up 14th or 15th, there wasn’t much we could do.
“Especially for the race it’s going to put us in a bit more of a difficult situation, because to overtake and defend is going to be quite tough. We’ll try to do our best.
“Looking at the positives, we know that we have a strong power unit with the new upgrades so I think it’s good for the coming races.”