After racing well in practice, Gasly qualified a lowly 17th after a strategy error by AlphaTauri prevented him from setting a time at the end of Q1.
The Frenchman told his team to “prepare” to take risks on race strategy, urging him to be the first driver on the field to switch from rain to intermediate tires after the red flag restart.
Gasly survived a few sketchy laps in the wet before conditions improved and he became the fastest rider on the track, allowing him to quickly catch up to those still riding in the wet.
Gasly closed in on Ricciardo for 12th in the New Chicane on lap 14, and took a quick look inside Tabac before tucking in behind the McLaren.
But thanks to his superior grip, Gasly was able to fire alongside Ricciardo on the exit of the corner before completing the move at the entrance to the swimming pool, which is rarely a passing place in Monaco.
“It was pretty tight, but I was so much faster than those guys, I just needed to calm down,” Gasly explained after the race.
“I had caught them so fast, and then after you’re like, OK, I want to pass, but it’s like the guy is defending well, suddenly you have no more space on the right, no more space on left.
“Then you have to be creative. That’s what I tried to do. At the end of the day, we F1 drivers are kind of artists, we always have to come up with new ideas.
Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri AT03, Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT03
Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool
“I tried to find some unusual places to overtake, and it worked, so I’m happy with that.”
Gasly admitted he didn’t know “how many times I almost crashed” and that when he initially came out of pit lane on intermediate tyres, he thought “maybe it was a very bad idea”.
“But I needed it to work out somehow,” he said. “It’s also an exercise that I like very much. It’s a big challenge to try to find the grip, and I must say that today, in terms of driving, it was really good.
“Unfortunately, we went too far and we paid the price for our poor quality choices.”
Gasly finished 12th on track and was ranked 11th after Esteban Ocon’s penalty was applied, leaving him one spot short of a pointer.
“I’m a little sad not to be rewarded with a point at the end, because I felt like I probably deserved it,” Gasly said.
“We lost quite a bit of time in our first pit stop, six or seven seconds, second pit stop, about three seconds. We have 10 seconds left in the race which probably cost us a point.
“But in the end there are a lot of positives to take from this weekend looking at the free practice and the pace today, so that’s what we remember.”