Pierre Gasly on his win at Monza, a possible return to Red Bull and what lies ahead
Scuderia Alpha Tauri driver Pierre Gasly had a rollercoaster of a season last year, getting promoted to the top-tier Aston Martin Red Bull racing team early but then his lackluster performances led to him getting relegated to Red Bull-owned Scuderia Alpha Tauri. Ever since then, Red Bull athlete Pierre has been determined like never before. From racing Lewis Hamilton to the line in Sao Paulo and finishing on the podium, to bagging the win at Monza. He’s been fast, consistent and ballsy when needed. After returning Emmanuel Macron’s phone call post his win, he answered some of our questions!
Very few drivers ever to race in F1 can call themselves Grand Prix winners, how does it feel and what does it mean for the team?
“It means a lot obviously for me to have won the Formula 1 race. It has been a dream since I was six years old. It has taken a lot of hard work and sacrifices and a long way before to be at the top so I am delighted especially after a long wait for France. It has been 24 years since a French driver won a Formula 1 Grand Prix. For the team also, it is the second one in their history since 2007-08 and that also in Monza, so it seems like luck is on our side as a team there. It also means a lot for Scuderia Alpha Tauri to get our first win this season together and especially in Italy, for an Italian based team it is magical.”
Ever since you left Red Bull there seems to be a fire in your belly and you’ve been getting great results. Do you think you have a lot more confidence to do justice to the second seat at Red Bull, if you were given the chance?
“I think I am someone that always finds a way to become stronger as a driver and as an athlete and question myself on how to get better at what I am doing. I am really happy with the strong performances we have put in at Toro Rosso and Alpha Tauri since I joined them last year. It has been a great environment working together. It was really important for me to put some answers through my performance on the track to some questions that were raised last year and that’s what I try to do by having some strong races.”
“Yeah for Red Bull, I obviously want the fastest car possible as I am a very competitive person. I want to fight for podium finishes and victories on a more consistent basis. Hopefully my strong performances will be rewarded in the future. At present I want to enjoy and celebrate this moment with Alpha Tauri and want to make the best out of the rest of the season.”
What was going through your mind during those last few laps when you were fending off Sainz?
“I didn’t really pay attention to Carlos too much as I was leading him that time. I knew I couldn’t do much about Carlos that time. He was a bit faster and he was closing but it was important for me to not make any mistakes and put the fastest lap I could and be consistent lap after lap and corner after corner. I was just focused on my driving and was trying to squeeze out everything from my car. I knew it would go to the last lap and it was really important to win as we were leading for 28 laps and there was no way in my head that I was going to give away the win so yeah I just gave everything till the end.”
What do you aim to achieve by the end of the season?
“We had a fantastic win in Monza but I feel we should be quite objective and realistic about the targets we want to achieve this season and make any mistakes this season. Our overall performances does not change from the last 3 to 4 races, obviously it was fantastic to get the victory in Monza but we know that it will be difficult to replicate the same performances in the next few races. We need to score points and we need to capitalize on the mistakes of other teams and we need to secure as many points as we can get. I will take race by race which was the similar approach we have been taking and try to ensure we get as many points as possible until the end of the year.”
This year’s Italian GP was a much needed change from the dominance of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes-AMG Petronas, but no one would’ve thought that the podium would be filled by Gasly, Carlos Sainz and Lance Stroll. I say no one, but there was one person — a guy in Finland bet on that exact finishing order, with the odds stacked at 166,000/1. He took home € 33,398 (Rs 29 lakh) on an ‘investment’ of just 20 cents. Perhaps the only person happier than him that day was Gasly himself. This weekend, Formula 1 heads to Mugello for the first time ever. The Alpha Tauri hasn’t looked particularly fast at Mugello with Gasly qualifying in 16th and Daniil Kvyat in 12th. It should be an interesting race nevertheless!