Gasly produced an outstanding performance, qualifying fifth, 12 places higher than teammate Esteban Ocon, who was knocked out in Q1.
As a result of Carlos Sainz’s 10-place grid drop for using a third control electronics in a season after his second was controversially damaged when running over a manhole cover in FP1 in Las Vegas, Gasly will start from fourth which is his highest starting position of 2023.
“I mean, we expected to be both out in Q1 and in the end, we qualified fifth, which is probably the best qualifying of the year on a track, which doesn’t on paper doesn’t suit our car,” explained Gasly to the media.
“So I’m very pleased [the] weekend was also compromised with some setup work for next year and trying to understand a few things on for next year’s car, so until qualifying, I didn’t have the setup I wanted.
“The car came alive, and I felt very confident to push it to the limit, I took some risk but measured risk, and it paid off. So, probably put some of my strongest laps of the year.”
F1 can’t please everyone after fans get the boot
The first Formula 1 weekend in Las Vegas since 1982 started badly when Thursday night’s FP1 descended into an utter farce after loose manhole covers caused the session to be cancelled after just 10 minutes.
The second practice session was delayed by two-and-a-half hours after circuit organisers and the FIA investigated all of the circuit’s manhole covers to prevent a repeat of Sainz‘s incident.
The delay forced the circuit’s security team and local police to throw fans out of their seats due to a lack of security presence, with ticketholders yet to receive an apology or a full refund from the organisers.
“It was a tricky situation to manage, and it’s never easy,” added Gasly. “I think in the interest of everyone, F1 tries to deliver the best show they can and with the tools they have, and sometimes you got some limitations.
“They want to please the teams, the fans, the organisers, the people ultimately, sometimes it’s difficult to achieve it, and it’s the first time we come out at that venue, so you’ve got to expect that things aren’t going to be always smooth. But hopefully, the rest of the weekend can be can be amazing.”