Horner: Bad on-paper results masked Gasly improvements

Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner believes Pierre Gasly could take “a lot of positives” from the Azerbaijan GP weekend, in spite of his poor on-paper results.

Gasly has endured a difficult start to his Red Bull career after struggling to marry his driving style with the RB15.

Gasly failed to score in Australia – having been eliminated after a communication mix-up in Q1 – and followed it up with only eighth in Bahrain and an off-the-pace sixth in China.

Gasly was consigned to start from the pit lane in Azerbaijan after missing the weighbridge in FP2 and was notionally excluded from qualifying for exceeding the fuel flow limit to set the best overall time in Q1.

Gasly subsequently retired from the race due to a driveshaft issue – though had recovered from the pit lane to sixth.

“I think while he doesn’t have results on paper, I think he’s pretty happy with his weekend,” said Horner.

“On Friday was quick, in the race he drove a good race. It should’ve been an easy P6 from the pit lane which is a really strong drive.

“I think even more encouraging than this is his pace, you know certainly compared to Ferrari on the same strategy, he was definitely quicker than him [Charles Leclerc]. So I think a lot of positives for Pierre out of Azerbaijan. 

“He’s had a lot of support from the team, he’s working with a good engineer, he’s got a good engineering team around him and he knows that we know he can do it, so it’s just taking a bit of time.”

While Gasly retired in Azerbaijan, team-mate Max Verstappen went on to finish fourth for the third race in a row.

“It’s a long, long way to go in the championship,” said Horner.

“We just have to take it one race at a time, but three fourth positions in a row is getting a little bit boring now, we want to be fighting for the podium again.”