The Toro Rosso driver was one of five participants in Q2 who did not set a time. He and the Red Bull pair had grid penalties due to power unit changes, and would have started last regardless of where they qualified.
The two Renault drivers also didn’t run. Gasly suspects this was because they doubted they would be quick enough to reach Q3, and by setting a time they could ensure they would be the first cars on the grid to start the race on fresh tyres.
“I think they knew that they didn’t have the pace and they prefer to start on ultra-soft or soft tyres compared to the hyper which will be pretty tough to keep alive in the race,” he said.
“They knew that without driving they will start 11th and 12th because we will not run anyway in Q2. Let’s see if it pays off – if they finish fifth and sixth tomorrow it was the right choice.”
Gasly said F1’s rules need to be changed to ensure drivers always have an incentive to participate in qualifying.
“For me the main thing is you need to find a solution to give different penalties,” he said. “When you look at the qualifying where in Q2 all five cars from 11th to 15th didn’t run I think that looks really silly.
“The regulation at the moment doesn’t push the team to run the car in qualifying. If the grid position was based on the qualifying result then at least for us, for example, we would have been out in Q2 and trying to set a better lap time than Alonso and the Red Bulls would have needed to go out as well.”
Gasly said his engine penalty meant he knew after first practice what his starting position would be which “is not so great.”
“I think first you have the penalty system which is a bit stupid because when you qualify in a position you like to start in that position and not at the back. Plus the way they decide the penalty and your grid position is not the right one, they should find another way.”
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