Red Bull protege Pierre Gasly admits he found his Super Formula title defeat “hard to accept” after both of Sunday's races at the Suzuka season finale were cancelled.
Gasly arrived in Suzuka only half-a-point behind championship leader Hiroaki Ishiura and with the momentum from three consecutive podium finishes - including two wins - behind him.
However, the Frenchman was denied a chance of fighting for the crown when both races were called off due to the threat of a super typhoon, with Ishiura being declared champion.
Given Gasly skipped the clashing Formula 1 race in Austin to compete in Super Formula, he found it particularly hard to miss out on the title without giving a fight.
“I was looking forward to the race, especially in these conditions anything can happen,” the Mugen driver said. “Starting P8 and Ishiura P4 [in Race 1] anything could have had happened.
"We are usually quite strong in the races. And also in Race 2 I was supposed to start in sixth position and Ishiura [was due to start] ninth. Everything was still open.
“At the moment I’m disappointed because I wanted to race and wanted to fight and it’s not gonna happen. So it’s just a bit hard to accept now. But that's how it is.
“I think one of the things I’ve learnt today is that some things you can’t really control. To lose the championship by half a point is something really tough.”
He added: “I really wanted to become champion but these kind of things are upsetting when they don't go the way you’d like to go.”
Gasly rues lost pole points
Gasly theoretically could have taken the title by taking pole for one of the two cancelled races, with Andre Lotterer and Jann Mardenborough both picking up an extra point apiece.
But he found traffic on at least two of his flying laps in an incident-packed qualifying session, potentially costing him any chance of the bonus points that could have swung his fight with Ishiura.
The 21-year-old had set two purple sector times when Kamui Kobayashi caused one of four red flags, while he had to abort another timed lap after catching a slow Naoki Yamamoto in sector 3.
Incidentally, Gasly spun at Turn 1 right after his encounter with Yamamoto, suggesting he might have aquaplaned due to cold tyres.
“Today we didn't really show our true potential because I didn't have one single [clean] lap,” he rued. “My best lap in qualifying was a lap with traffic.
“On the first push after red flag I was on cold tyres, so it wasn't really my best lap. I was improving after that but I had some traffic so I had to stop my lap.
“On the wet I felt very good with the car. I could have fought for pole position.”
He added: “If I finished the lap [in which I caught Yamamoto] I would have had pole position. Then I would have one point and would have won the championship.
“But if I [would have] finished the lap, then I wouldn’t have aquaplaned in Turn 1 and the session would have been different. It’s difficult [to say what would have happened].”