Pierre Gasly believes Toro Rosso’s performance during the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend will act as a boost to Honda for the second part of the season.
Toro Rosso and Honda enjoyed an encouraging start to their first season in partnership when Gasly finished fourth in Bahrain after a competitive weekend. There have been two top-seven results since, but both have come on less power-sensitive circuits in Monaco and Hungary, with reliability an ongoing weak point for the Japanese manufacturer.
However, Gasly says Honda’s performance in Budapest should not be overlooked after both Toro Rossos qualified in the top eight in the wet, and hopes his sixth-place finish will act as a motivating factor for the rest of the year.
“I think it’s promising,” Gasly said. “Budapest, we knew that it’s a track that’s a bit less power-sensitive, and in a way it would make things a bit closer between everyone. Honda did a fantastic job in qualifying in the wet conditions, drivability was great. And then again in the race, we didn’t have any issues at all.
“I think it’s the best way to motivate them and show them that we have potential and to push them forward, especially before the summer break, just to give a big boost to everyone, and hopefully get more performance on their side for the second half of the season.”
Despite praising Honda, Gasly says the key to Toro Rosso’s strongest performances has been getting the Pirelli tires to work, believing the car is suited to the softer compounds in the range.
“Honestly, I think that it seems with the soft compounds, we are pretty fast. Monaco was one of these races where we managed to keep the tires alive for a really long time.
“You need to have a good balance as well, good stability, not too much snaps. The balance reminded me a bit of Bahrain. I was really happy with the car, comfortable, I could attack without losing the rear or fighting with the rear or the front too much.
“I think we found the sweet spot [in Budapest] again. It’s pretty hard for us to be in that window, but we managed to do it, and we know [that] when the balance is good, we can make the tires last pretty long.”