Pierre Gasly escapes race ban as FIA slap him with €100 fine

Pierre Gasly is just two penalty points away from being awarded a race ban.

Pierre Gasly recovered incredibly well at last weekend’s season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix after starting from last on the grid, following a mistake during qualifying at the Bahrain International Circuit.

Starting 20th certainly isn’t what Alpine’s newest driver would’ve wanted, with Gasly having been determined to start life strongly at the Enstone-based team.

To give the Frenchman credit, though, he performed sensationally during the race, to finish ninth.

Gasly’s pace was very strong, with him having perhaps been a threat to the top eight had he qualified better.

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The former AlphaTauri driver didn’t actually qualify last but started there after exceeding track limits on his fastest lap, which ultimately demoted him to the back.

Regardless of Gasly exceeding track limits, he still would’ve been eliminated in Q1, something he’ll be hoping to work on.

Exceeding track limits wasn’t Gasly’s only error during qualifying, as he also sped in the pit-lane; alas, by a mere 0.6km/h.

He was awarded a €100 fine as a result, but thankfully no penalty points.

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Gasly is, of course, just two penalty points away from being slapped with a race ban, something he’s desperately trying to avoid.

Thankfully, his race was much cleaner than his short appearance in qualifying, with Gasly having focused on staying “calm” after knowing his car “had race pace”.

“I knew starting from the Bahrain city centre it would be quite an eventful race so I had to stay calm,” Gasly told F1TV.

“I knew we had race pace, yesterday [qualifying] it didn’t come together so I had to make up for it today. I was so mad last night. All morning I was so focused, I had these points as my target.

“The team did a great start, race pace was good, and it was important for the first race with Alpine to get these points.”

Gasly’s elimination in Q1 was an accurate demonstration of how close the midfield is this season, with just 1.188s having separated the top 20.

Should Q1 be just as tight for the remainder of the season, then producing accurate laps will be vital, given that exceeding track limits could result in a disappointing starting place.

Gasly has labelled his Q1 performance as a “one-off” and believes its the first time since he started driving for Alpine that two consecutive laps “didn’t come together”.

“That’s two laps and that’s probably the only two laps that didn’t come together since I did the first test in the car,” Gasly conceded.

READ: Lance Stroll mocks Alpine’s struggles during Fernando Alonso interview

“Was a shame but shows that in the midfield if you don’t get everything right it’s so close you pay the price straight well.

“It was a one-off. We recovered from that, we’ll fix that, and make sure we start in the right position next time.”