Pierre Gasly will start his first Formula 1 race from 15th place on the grid in Malaysia after a solid showing for Toro Rosso at the Sepang International Circuit on Saturday.
Red Bull-backed youngster Gasly was confirmed to be making his grand prix debut earlier this week in place of Daniil Kvyat, who has been dropped due to poor form.
Gasly made an impressive start to qualifying by beating teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. in Q1, and finished just 0.156 seconds off his time in Q2, taking P15 on the grid.
““I think today was positive and I’m happy – your first qualifying in Formula 1 is always a special moment and one I was really looking forward to,” Gasly said.
“I tried to give my best and I think we made really good progress between FP3 and qualifying. I felt comfortable in the car in Q1 and then, in Q2, I kept on learning while giving my all and I’d say we can be satisfied with the result.
“I now look forward to tomorrow, my first Formula 1 race and something I’ve been dreaming of since I was very young…! I expect it to be a really good experience and I hope to keep improving tomorrow as well.
“You never know what can happen with the weather here so, if the rain and tricky conditions do appear, I will welcome it as I felt confident in the wet in FP1 on Friday and I’m sure it will make it all even more exciting.”
The Malaysian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 2am ET on Sunday.
Takuma Sato isn’t the only major Japanese athlete to take home top honors at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this year. Countryman Yoshihide Muroya joined him in that on Sunday after winning Red Bull Air Race at IMS, and the Red Bull Air Race World Championship in the process.
Fittingly, the 101st Indianapolis 500 champion was there on site to join him in the celebration.
Muroya flew with a track-record run in the final and erased the four-point deficit to points leader Martin Sonka. The record run came after a disappointing qualifying effort of 11th in the 14-pilot field in the Master Class.
A day after the win, Muroya joined Sato in heading to Sato’s new Verizon IndyCar Series team, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s, Indianapolis-based shop.
A few social posts from Muroya’s victory and the subsequent celebration are below.
Muroya wasn’t alone among big winners at the Speedway. In the Challenger Class, Melanie Astles of France became the first woman to win a major race at IMS, and is the first female winner in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship.
Nine women have competed in the Indianapolis 500 (Janet Guthrie, Lyn St. James, Sarah Fisher, Danica Patrick, Milka Duno, Simona de Silvestro, Pippa Mann, Ana Beatriz, Katherine Legge) and Mann is the first woman to have been on the pole position at IMS, having done so for the Freedom 100 in 2010 in Indy Lights.