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First-ever F1 qualie 'a special moment' for Gasly

Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso, Malaysian Grand Prix
© XPB 

For Pierre Gasly, making his maiden Formula 1 race appearance this weekend, Saturday's qualifying session for the Malaysian Grand Prix was a major milestone.

The Toro Rosso driver shone in Q1 where he was eighth fastest, quicker than his experienced team mate Carlos Sainz.

He subsequently proved it was no fluke by setting a near-identical time in Q2, although it wasn't enough to see him through to the final round.

"I think today was positive and I'm happy," the 21-year-old Frenchman said. "Your first qualifying in Formula 1 is always a special moment and one I was really looking forward to!

"I tried to give my best and I think we made really good progress between FP3 and qualifying," he continued. "I felt comfortable in the car in Q1.

"In Q2, I kept on learning while giving my all," he reported. "I'd say we can be satisfied with the result!

"I now look forward to tomorrow, my first Formula 1 race and something I've been dreaming of since I was very young.

"I expect it to be a really good experience and I hope to keep improving tomorrow as well.

"You never know what can happen with the weather here," he added. If the rain and tricky conditions do appear, I will welcome it.

"I felt confident in the wet in FP1 on Friday and I'm sure it will make it all even more exciting!"

Gasly will be starting Sunday's race from 15th place on the grid. Sainz will be one place ahead of him when the lights go out. Overall, it was a somewhat underwhelming session for the team.

"A disappointing day today after only qualifying in P14 and P15," agreed Toro Rosso technical director James Key.

"Pierre has been really good all weekend," he noted. "He's had very little time to prepare, completed very few laps.

"To be just a few tenths behind his team mate is a really excellent performance from him in his first ever qualifying. This is definitely a positive that we've taken from today."

As for Sainz, the 23-year-old Spanish driver said he wasn't surprised by his grid position for the race.

"Before coming here we thought we'd be performing a bit better than what we have done up until now," he said. "The updates we've brought here aren't really working as well as we expected, at least not for now.

"We just need to keep working hard. We usually come back a bit on race day. Hopefully we can be part of a good midfield battle and recover a bit of ground.

"If it rains, anything can happen as we saw in Singapore," he pointed out. "We will just need to keep our heads down and see where we end up.

"Whatever happens, we will try and do our best, that's for sure!"

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