Gasly, who made his
debut with Toro Rosso last year, has been unable to match the pace of team mate
since joining Red Bull this season. He was eight-tenths of a second slower than the team’s other car in qualifying and was running 40 seconds behind Verstappen before making an extra pit stop at the end of Sunday’s race.
Horner said Gasly has “made a step forward this weekend” but his driver is “still not totally comfortable” with how the car handles.
“He’s in the process of needing to refine his style to optimise the best from the car, the characteristics of the car. And he’s making progress with that.
“I think it’s obviously proving to be a challenge for him but he’s making progress and the fastest lap at the end of the race there will give him a bit of confidence as well.”
Red Bull changed Gasly onto a set of soft tyres at the end of the race to give him a chance of scoring the bonus point for fastest lap. He did so but only beat Sebastian Vettel’s best time, which was set on a heavier fuel load with harder tyres, by less than a tenth of a second.
Horner said Ferrari’s ability to increase its engine power for flying laps explains why Gasly was only able to lap slightly faster than Vettel.
“He knew the lap time he needed to beat because we told him as he went out of the pits. But we see after the pit stop both Ferrari and Mercedes, it looks like they go back into a qualifying setting because particularly with Sebastian his one-lap pace when he did a 34.8, and then suddenly he’s in the 36s, there’s one stand-out lap that was very impressive.”
2019 F1 season
- Hamilton: Ferrari not reaching their full potential
- Hamilton cruises to sixth China win as Ferrari tactics backfire
- How Red Bull’s tech tweaks halved the gap to Mercedes and Ferrari in Shanghai
- Third consecutive one-two gives Mercedes chance to break record
- Vettel: Ferrari still need to “unlock” car’s true pace