May 16, 2021
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Pierre Gasly Has A Slightly Better-Than-Usual Shot This Weekend

Illustration for article titled Pierre Gasly Has A Slightly Better-Than-Usual Shot This Weekend

Photo: Getty Images (Getty Images)

It is highly likely that one of Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen, or Valtteri Bottas will win Sunday’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola, but let’s allow ourselves to dream for a minute.

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That’s because Pierre Gasly seems to like the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari, qualifying for fourth in there last season, and finishing with lap times this year that were fifth in the first practice Friday and third in the second practice.

Gasly also qualified for fifth in Formula 1’s first race in Bahrain this year, suggesting that his Alphatauri car might not be too shabby. Could Gasly … win with a good time in qualifying on Saturday and a little luck on Sunday? It doesn’t seem too wild a thought, for now; his time in the second practice Friday was just 0.078 seconds behind Bottas.

Hamilton was impressed, via Formula1.com.

“Alphatauri, I think they’ve done an amazing job, they’re looking incredibly fast. It’s really great that Pierre has a good car underneath him and I’m excited to see him up there.”

Gasly himself said was a bit more realistic:

“Mercedes have a lot faster car than we have. We know they have margin… but I think we’re just focusing on ourselves and trying to understand how to improve our car, improve our pace compared to our main rivals, which I guess is Ferrari, McLaren and probably Alpine as well.”

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Current betting odds give Gasly about 40-to-1 to win, with most probably expecting a fifth- or sixth-place finish for the Frenchman. Though, because Gasly’s first (and only) Formula One win last year was so satisfying, I’m going to go out on a limb and hope against hope that Gasly can maybe do something similar on Sunday in Italy. It would be one of the highlights of the season.

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