Gasly revels in 'very special' SF triumph
21 August 2017 – Red Bull junior driver Pierre Gasly described his maiden victory in the Super Formula championship as "very special", after he emerged on top during the category's visit to Motegi.
Team Mugen racer Gasly, who qualified in fourth position, ran a Medium/Soft strategy and extended his first stint to emerge from his sole stop in second spot.
Gasly trailed the dominant Kamui Kobayashi but the ex-Sauber ace was severely compromised due to a slow pit-stop, handing the lead to Gasly, which the Frenchman never relinquished.
Gasly's win was the first for a Honda-powered driver this year and he revelled in the success, having started the weekend on the back foot after a brake failure.
"I could not do any laps, and that was quite important, because for me it was a new track that I had to learn, so it wasn't the best start," said Gasly.
"But we didn't give up, we kept pushing and on Saturday we had a good feeling with the car.
"I had a good start, fighting for P3, but in the end stayed P4 and tried to keep the pace with the guys ahead who were on the softer compound.
"The pace was quite good, the degradation was quite low, I was able to manage the tyres. It was pretty good for us, we were very strong on the first stint."
Having jumped from fourth to second, before overhauling Kobayashi, Gasly went on to cross the line 18 seconds clear of his rivals.
"It's so good to be back after the summer break and be competitive and grab this first victory for Honda this season," he said.
"It feels very special and we are all even more motivated than ever to keep pushing and focus on the coming races."
Gasly now holds fourth place in the championship.