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Gasly success made Super Formula teammate feel "miserable"

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Gasly success made Super Formula teammate feel "miserable"
By:
Feb 6, 2018, 12:13 PM

Red Bull junior Pierre Gasly’s strong run of results in the second half of the 2017 Super Formula season left his Mugen teammate Naoki Yamamoto in a “miserable” state.

Naoki Yamamoto, Team Mugen
Naoki Yamamoto, Team Mugen
Pierre Gasly, Team Mugen
Pierre Gasly, Team Mugen
Pierre Gasly, Team Mugen
Nirei Fukuzumi, Team Mugen
Naoki Yamamoto, Team Mugen

After a difficult start to his maiden campaign in Japan’s top-tier single-seater championship, Gasly turned a corner with points finishes in both Okayama and Fuji.

However, the real breakthrough came at Motegi, where he took advantage of Kamui Kobayashi’s botched pitstop to romp to a debut win.

Another victory followed at Autopolis and he came close to winning the Sugo race as well.

Gasly’s upturn in form coincided with a dip in performance for 2013 Super Formula champion Yamamoto, who failed to score a point in the last four races of the season.

The 29-year-old eventually ended ninth in the standings with 10.5 points, less than a third of second-place finisher Gasly’s tally of 33 points.

Speaking after the season, Yamamoto - who will also race alongside Jenson Button in the Super GT series this year - admitted that his results were hampered by a desire to beat Gasly rather than focusing on his performance.

“I was impatient at that time, but I felt more miserable,” he told Motorsport.com. "It was a year in which I strongly felt that I did not want to lose to my teammate Gasly.

“At first I thought he was in unfamiliar territory, but he became better than me in the second half of the season.

“ I think the feeling of ‘I do not want to lose’ became too strong as the year progressed, and I ended up overlooking other aspects of racing.

“It reached a point where my field of vision became too narrow."

Yamamoto, however, drew plenty of positives from racing against Gasly, saying he heads into 2018 as an improved driver.

"I think there was a part that I was overlooking because I really wanted to win," he said. "There were lots of things I realised at the end of the season.

"I got to know his strengths and learned a lot from him."

Interview by Tomohiro Yoshida

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About this article

Series Super Formula
Drivers Pierre Gasly , Naoki Yamamoto
Author Rachit Thukral