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Gasly reflects on battle with Hamilton after 'perfect' weekend

Pierre Gasly conceded he was powerless to defend against Lewis Hamilton in the closing stages of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix after finishing a season-best fifth place.

After taking fifth place at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Pierre Gasly believes he stood no chance of holding back Lewis Hamilton in the closing stages of the race. The AlphaTauri driver secured the team's best result of the season after executing a one-stop strategy, with a long second stint on the Hard tyres. The result brings Gasly into the top 10 of the Drivers' Championship, and in the Constructors' Championship AlphaTauri reduce the gap to sixth-placed Alfa Romeo to 14 points. Speaking after the race, Gasly argued that fighting with Mercedes was a testament to how well-executed their race weekend was. "It's been pretty much the perfect weekend from our side and it came right on time," Gasly told media, including RacingNews365.com . "After the start of the year where we've been quite unlucky and had a lot of incidents and mistakes. "Coming into this weekend [we] really needed to focus on minimising the mistakes and just execute the best weekend we could with the package we had. That's what we did; P6 in qualifying, P5 in the race. "If we're fighting with Mercedes, then we know that means we are doing our job right and now we have got to keep pushing and maximise these opportunities when they come to us."

Gasly believes he had no hope of defending against Hamilton

After pitting under the first Virtual Safety Car to get rid of the Medium tyres, Gasly drove over 40 laps on the Hard compound tyre to get to the chequered flag. The Frenchman was on course for fourth place until the second VSC period altered some strategies. Mercedes' Hamilton was able to pit for fresh tyres with a reduced pit-stop penalty, catch Gasly, and overtake for fourth place in the final few laps. Gasly added that a lack of new Hard tyres meant he was unable to pit under the Virtual Safety Car. "I tried [to defend] but he was so much faster with his new tyres," explained Gasly. "We pitted earlier than we would have liked due to the first Virtual Safety Car and I had to extend my stint and make it work for 41 laps. "The last [Virtual] Safety Car didn't play in our favour with the fact that we only had one set of Hard tyres, so we didn't really have any choice to then staying on track. "This was already hard enough, so when he came out with new tyres and I initially heard his lap times, I thought, 'Okay, there's not going to be anything to keep him behind'. "I tried but the difference between the tyres was just too big."

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