Pierre Gasly was on the verge of collecting more points after a remarkable race from 10th place on the USGP grid, when Sergio Perez broke the suspension on his Toro Rosso whilst overtaking the Frenchman.
The US Grand Prix was a carbon copy of the Mexican GP the week before, but without the points finish after the French driver was forced to retire from the race just three laps from the end after a hard battle with the Racing Point. Pierre recorded one of his best weekends by finishing in the top ten in both free practice and qualifying, the car and team working perfectly together as he climbed up into fourth place on Friday. As in Mexico, Pierre was one of the fastest in the mid field by qualifying in the top 10.
Also, just as in Mexico, Pierre started on the soft tyres while several of his rivals behind him were on the medium tyres. It was a courageous but unfortunately a losing strategy on paper, according to the simulations carried out by Pirelli and the other teams.
“I really like the Circuit of the Americas because it has big fast corners and that's what I prefer. In addition to that, we were able to adjust the car the way we wanted to, fitting it perfectly to my style, so I really enjoyed driving it! We got off to a good start on Friday, finishing fourth and seventh, and we improved throughout the weekend by reacting well to the changing conditions. Then securing the third top 10 in a row in qualifying is an indicator of our level of performance at the front of the second group behind the top three teams. It's a great pleasure to be part of this team and to be able to get the most out of the car.”
Pierre made a great start by moving up into 8th place. He made a perfect run following Norris' McLaren, ahead of Sainz's and Hulkenberg's Renault, the Racing Points and Alfa Romeos, as well as his team-mate Daniil Kvyat. Pierre was 12th after his pit stop of lap 19, but he was soon back up into 8th place, despite suffering degradation on the hard tyres. When overtaking him, just three laps from the end, Sergio Pérez broke the suspension on his contender and forced him to retire, his first of the season with Toro Rosso.
“Honestly, we can only be frustrated after making such a strong race in difficult conditions. A good first stint was the key to success and we did it. We spent most of the race in the top 10. The contact with Pérez was light and I did not think the suspension had suffered. It's disappointing to lose points after a weekend where we were very competitive, where we progressed and where we showed that our place was in the top 10. This will be our goal again in Brazil!”.
FP1: 4th, 1: 35.008, 32 laps.
FP2: 7th, 1: 34.509, 31 laps.
FP3: 9th, 1: 34.517, 14 laps.
Qualifying: 10th, 1: 33.601
1 stop for a total of 24.195 seconds in the pitlane.
Lap 1-19: soft tyres
Lap 20-54: hard tyres
Championship: 8th, 77 points