Pierre Gasly has revealed that his AlphaTauri Formula 1 team asked him to retire after just 10 laps of the Austrian Grand Prix due to fears of a brake failure.
Gasly was running in 12th position when his brakes started to overheat and was instructed to pit.
But the 24-year-old asked for one more lap to try and get the brake temperatures under control, and duly went on to finish seventh in an attritional race.
The result marked was the best start to the season for the team formerly known as Toro Rosso since 2009, when Sebastien Buemi finished seventh on his debut in that year’s Australian Grand Prix.
“I mean, we were that close from retiring the car,” Gasly explained.
“The team asked me actually to box on lap 10, because my brake pedal was completely flat and the temperatures were going over the roof, and I just asked for one more lap.
“They told me ‘Okay, try’. I stayed out, things got better, and in the end we finished P7, so we were one lap [away] to box the car, and then next lap stayed out and managed to get a couple of points.”
After the scare, Gasly took advantage of retirements ahead of him – notably Daniel Ricciardo’s Renault and the Racing Point of Lance Stroll – as well as Alex Albon’s spin after his collision with Lewis Hamilton.
“I think if someone told us we’d be P7 on Sunday, we would have signed straight away at the beginning of the weekend,” Gasly added.
“We knew it will be quite challenging against the Renault, McLaren and Racing Point, and in the end we just stayed out of trouble until the finish and had some good fighting and then, yeah, managed to get a couple of points.”
AlphaTauri team boss Franz Tost said that the result was “the best possible result we could have achieved”.
“Both drivers did a really good job, together with the team, who operated very well and took the right decisions strategy-wise,” he said.
“The progress showed by the team, with steps forward in the general setup and relative performance from Friday’s sessions to the race, makes us look forward to next week’s Styrian Grand Prix, where we hope to be able to replicate today’s result or achieve an even better one.”
Gasly’s team-mate Daniil Kvyat was also running in the points when contact with Esteban Ocon’s Renault resulted in puncture.