Gasly hopes 'special' home grand prix can prove turning point

Pierre Gasly hopes the "special" experience of racing at his home grand prix in France can lead to a positive result that will kickstart his Red Bull career.

Ahead of this week's race at Circuit Paul Ricard, Frenchman Gasly is yet to record a top-four finish in 2019, having stepped up from Toro Rosso to partner Max Verstappen.

The 23-year-old will be able to count on extra support at Le Castellet, though, and has fond memories of a track which only returned to the Formula One calendar following a nine-season absence last year.

"I'm fully focused and dedicated to get the best result I can and it would be a special moment to do well in front of my home fans," said Gasly. 

"Quite a lot of people are coming to support me, which makes the weekend extra special. It brings good vibes and creates a special atmosphere. I'm really excited to be on track there with all the fans and extra support.

"Paul Ricard is a track I quite like because I had really strong results there in the past. I raced there for the first time in 2011 in F4 and won. To go back there this year with a Red Bull, in a competitive car, makes me excited and I'm ready to give it my all!"

Verstappen came second in last season's race and is expecting to compete at the front again this time around.

France follows a Canadian Grand Prix where Verstappen had to battle through the field to finish fifth – his worst result of the season to date – after a red flag meant he was unable to progress from Q2.

"We maximised things in Canada and we are working hard to improve all aspects," said the Dutchman.

"I feel comfortable in the car so I hope we will be able to challenge the frontrunners more closely in France.

"Last year was good for us, we got the strategy spot on and finished second on the podium, which was a good team result. It's still a very new grand prix for F1 which makes it naturally more of a challenge for all teams and I had not raced there before 2018. 

"It's good to have a grand prix in France. It's a historic track, which is well known for its safety, it also attracts lots of fans who love the sport, which is great to see, especially for Pierre."

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