The head of AlphaTauri Franz Tost summed up the results of the Russian Grand Prix, where both drivers earned points …
Question: In Sochi, the team earned a lot of points. Can the race be considered successful?
Franz Toast: Both riders earned points – that’s a plus. But they finished eighth and ninth, and I expected more. On the first stretch, they showed excellent speed. Daniil Kvyat started on Hard and rode at a good pace, having risen to fourth position by the time of the pit stop. Then he got stuck behind Okon and, unfortunately, could not overtake him. Esteban was slightly faster in slow turns, and Daniel, despite DRS, could not get close to attack distance.
Pierre also had a good start, moved up to seventh position and held Leclerc back, but on lap 18 we had to call him to the pits to change tires. With such an early pit stop, there is always a risk that the rider will be in traffic. And so it happened. Pierre overtook Elbon, then Raikkonen, but lost a lot of time behind them, so he finished only ninth.
An interesting race. The first Grand Prix with spectators, which is also a plus. The organizers did a great job …
Question: The second time you called Pierre into the pits, when there was a virtual safety machine …
Franz Toast: Yes, we tried to make a pit stop without wasting time. We hoped that the virtual safety car period would last longer – and we didn’t expect it to be so short. But on fresh tires, Pierre outperformed Elbon and Norris without any problems, and eventually finished ninth – in the same position as before the pit stop. You never know how the events will develop in the race.
Q: Pierre had very interesting fights with Lando and Alex …
Franz Toast: Pierre spent a lot of overtaking – it’s great! Unfortunately, he lost too much time in traffic after the first pit stop. It is difficult to overtake in modern cars. It is necessary to stick close to the rivals in the second and third sectors, but because of this, the front tires quickly wear out. The car had a good balance, but we couldn’t get close enough to overtake on a straight line. This was the case with Okon.
Q: You said that it was difficult to overtake Okon, but the car allows you to fight – this adds confidence in success in the next races?
Franz Toast: You are absolutely right. I am sure that we will be fast in the next races. The ninth or tenth place in the qualification in Sochi is not a good option. It is much better to qualify 11th and start on Medium. This is exactly what Leclair did. Ferrari is slower than our car, because Charles started behind Pierre. But he had the advantage – he started on Medium, drove a longer first segment – and created a gap by the time of Pierre’s pit stop. After switching from Soft to Hard tires, Gasley got stuck in traffic. That is why Leclair finished ahead.
Question Daniel earned points in two races in a row – apparently, he found an approach to the car and is making progress.
Franz Toast: He was very fast in the first segment – great job. On the second stretch, he got stuck behind Okon and could not get ahead of him. But the first segment he drove great.
Q: The next race will be held at the Nurburgring. What do you expect from her? There hasn’t been a Formula 1 since 2013!
Franz Toast: Quite right. It’s hard to imagine what awaits us. Hope it won’t snow there. You never know what the weather will be like on the Nurburgring at this time. However, it can be warm and sunny there.
We are looking forward to the Eifel Grand Prix – there is an interesting track with a rich history. Hope we can be quick. We will see.