Pierre Gasly was denied a fourth-placed finish in Baku after a Virtual Safety Car gave Sir Lewis Hamilton a cheap stop in the Mercedes.
With just under 20 laps remaining of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Kevin Magnussen’s Haas ground to a halt just before Turn 15, bringing out the Virtual Safety Car.
Hamilton was then able to stop onto a fresh set of tyres, and Gasly, who had no fresh sets of tyres available to him, was vulnerable to the Mercedes.
The Frenchman observes that the seven-time champion had unassailable pace once he bolted on new tyres, and he was powerless to stop him getting by.
“Lewis boxed and then his pace was shocking. I could see him growing every single lap on my mirrors, I tried to defend the best way I could but there was no way to keep him behind,” said Gasly.
Nonetheless, P5 was Gasly’s best result of the season having obtained his best qualifying of the season in sixth on Saturday, so he is delighted with the pace displayed last weekend, particularly after AlphaTauri’s tough start to the year.
“We knew we’d have a chance to do well after seeing our pace in Monaco,” he told Sky Sports after the race.
“To be fighting with Lewis, probably not so that was slightly better than what we expected, and I’m really pleased because we did no mistakes all weekend.
“We showed good speed in practice; we managed to translate it into a good qualifying position and today was good.
“I had Lewis behind for quite a few laps, and we knew with our strategy with only one set of hard tyres, if there would be a Safety Car at the end in the last 20 laps it wouldn’t be great for us and unfortunately this is what happened.
“After, Lewis was just melting on me pretty fast; I tried to defend the best I could, but I didn’t manage to keep him behind.
“To take a P5 after the start of the year we had, I’m extremely happy with that.”
Gasly’s haul of 10 points moves him up to 10th in the Drivers’ Standings and ahead of team-mate Yuki Tsunoda, who suffered a heart-breaking late rear wing issue that sent him out of the points.