Pierre Gasly is ready to take on the team leader mantle at AlphaTauri, according to team principal Franz Tost.
The Frenchman has started only his fourth full season in Formula 1 but takes the lead at the Faenza-based Italian outfit after the arrival of Japanese rookie Yuki Tsunoda, and one-and-a-half years after being dropped by Red Bull.
When asked if Gasly was ready for the challenge of guiding a team through a championship campaign, Tost responded: "Yes, he is now in his fourth Formula 1 season.
"He has learned a lot in the last years, and he is taking on this role to be a team leader with his experience, and this will help out the team, and especially Yuki.
"Pierre, apart from the fact he is very, very fast, knows how to manage the tyres, has a lot of race experience, and we will get a lot out of this."
Tost was left thoroughly impressed by Tsunoda's maiden outing, adding: "I must say he really did a fantastic job.
"We told him his aim was to come back from the first lap with a healthy car to be able to run his race, and that’s exactly what he achieved.
"He showed a lot of good overtaking manoeuvres – I believe his was the car that completed the most overtakes – and his lap times were also very competitive, with the medium tyre as well as with the hard compound.
"He deserved ninth position and it was really nice to see how he fought against Kimi [Raikkonen], Lance [Stroll] and others.
"I think we can look forward to the season ahead with him. He is the first Japanese driver to score points in the debut race, and it’s great he achieved this result with us."
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