Pierre Gasly has shrugged off comments from Helmut Marko, in which the Red Bull advisor suggested there's more pace to be found from the AlphaTauri AT02 than what the French driver is capable of.
Gasly qualified a stellar fifth for the season opener in Bahrain, 0.8 seconds away from pole position. While his race went on to be a disaster as he damaged his car on the opening lap, his pace in qualifying met with near-universal praise.
That outpouring of praise didn't include Helmut Marko, with the Austrian suggesting that the car had much more pace than what Gasly managed.
"I would say that Max [Verstappen] would certainly have squeezed out two or three tenths in qualifying [for the Bahrain Grand Prix]," Marko told media, including RacingNews365.com. "He would certainly not have been on pole."
The comment clearly annoyed Gasly and said, in his head, the situation is very clear.
"To me, it's, let's say, it's very simple," Gasly told RacingNews365.com.
"I don't care about hypothetical stuff. In fact, this one, this qualifying was one of the best qualifying in history for the team. And the only conclusion is that if I have a fast car, I can be extremely fast. And that's the only conclusion. Point."
There has been suggestions of tensions behind the scenes between Red Bull and Gasly, despite the French driver's tremendous 2020 season with AlphaTauri, with Marko's comment seeming to indicate the standing in which he's held in the company's hierarchy.
Gasly appeared to be a contender to rejoin the Red Bull senior team with Alex Albon's underperformance, before the team sprang for Racing Point outcast Sergio Perez. With Gasly's 2019 opportunity with the senior team not working out, it's clear that he has put the thought of that season, and a possible return, behind him.
"Honestly, I'm done with the question with Red Bull," Gasly said. "And I don't feel like answering this anymore, because this was already two years ago. I really moved on from this."
Gasly has been teamed up with rookie Yuki Tsunoda for this season, a driver who is already being linked with a possible step up to Red Bull due to his immense speed and quick learning. Faced with the prospect of racing with and against a driver who might be fast-tracked into a top seat, Gasly praised the initial performance shown by his inexperienced teammate.
"Very good, he's extremely good," said the French driver. "[He's] extremely fast. He showed it and I think I'm really happy to be with someone that can push the car and also push the team because it can be only beneficial for us and the whole performance of the team.
"He did well for his first race, qualified in Q2, and finished ninth behind the McLaren and the Ferrari. So he did well, and I think that's positive and important for the team."