Pierre Gasly says Toro Rosso needs to work out why it was so uncompetitive in the Singapore Grand Prix when it expected to have a strong weekend.
Although Honda has made clear steps forward in terms of reliability and performance this season, it still lags behind Ferrari, Mercedes and Renault in terms of its power output. After better than expected showings on power-sensitive circuits such as Spa and Monza, Toro Rosso was targeting a points finish in Singapore given the characteristics of the street circuit but a lack of pace has left Gasly perplexed.
“We need to take more time to have a look, because it’s difficult to understand why we were that much slower,” Gasly said. “In the last two weekends were much better than we thought and we thought we had good odds for this weekend in Singapore.
“In the end we were much slower than expected, so we need to review everything, to understand a bit more. We saw in qualifying, with windier conditions, I had loss of downforce in the corners; so there are many things we need to understand, because at the moment we don’t really have all the answers.”
While Gasly acknowledges part of Sunday’s result — finishing a distant 13th — was due to a risky strategy by starting on the hypersoft tire, he says a previously strong performance in Monaco suggested Toro Rosso would be similarly competitive in Singapore.
“I think the strategy was a gamble and, in the end, it wasn’t quite the right one. What Sauber did paid off quite well; for Carlos (Sainz) and Fernando (Alonso) as well, so clearly the ultrasoft for the start was the way to go. But we knew that since the beginning of the weekend we weren’t really fast and we stuck with the same strategy as the others we wouldn’t have been able to fight. It was worth trying but in the end it didn’t work this time.
“In the last seven laps of the hypersoft we were really struggling a lot — I was trying to keep Charles (Leclerc) behind me for a couple of laps, but had massive vibrations, I was locking everywhere and had a lot of understeer. With the ultrasofts it was a bit better but I wouldn’t say the pace was great. It wasn’t great, as we saw the whole weekend.
“I think it was not just us that struggled with the hypersofts. In Monaco everyone else struggled but for some reason we managed to make them last quite a lot of time. This weekend we were just lacking compared to the others and as we were missing a lot of pace, the gamble with the strategy wasn’t the right thing — but you only know that in the race.”