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Gasly backed to shine, despite poor debut

Gasly backed to shine, despite poor debut

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Gasly backed to shine, despite poor debut

Gasly backed to shine, despite poor debut

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has backed new recruit Pierre Gasly after a difficult start to 2019 for the French driver. Promoted from Toro Rosso to replace Daniel Ricciardo, Gasly crashed twice in testing, had a dire qualifying session in Melbourne, and may be showing signs of feeling the pressure of life at a top team.

Gasly was displaced by a strategy error at the Australian Grand Prix and had to start 17th on the narrow Albert Park street circuit.

A long opening stint put him in a direct battle with Toro Rosso returnee Daniil Kvyat and Gasly could not find a way past the Russian, ultimately having to settle for 11th place.

Max Verstappen showed what the Red Bull-Honda is capable of, overtaking Sebastian Vettel to finish third, but Horner says it is too early to say that Gasly cannot compete with the Dutchman.

"There is always pressure in Formula 1, but it's too early to draw conclusions," Horner said.

"Pierre fought hard in the race after a difficult Saturday, but what he needs is a weekend without any problems. From Friday, he gradually made progress and provided the engineers with quality feedback.

"He was actually very competitive on this track where it is difficult to overtake. We know that he has enough speed, and the results will come with time."

However, some are already starting to wonder if Gasly might eventually be replaced by Kvyat, the more experienced Toro Rosso driver who had a solid return to F1 in Melbourne.

"I don't think you can talk about that yet," Igor Yermilin, a top Russian motor racing official, told Sportbox.

"Pierre's situation in this race is related to the team's error in qualifying, and we know there are few opportunities to overtake in Melbourne.

"But he has the speed."

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