Frenchman Pierre Gasly has revealed the whirlwind of praise he has received in the wake of his maiden Formula One victory at the Italian GP last Sunday and how excited he is for the rest of the 2020 season.
After Lewis Hamilton was penalised during the race, the Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda driver found himself at the front when two safety cars arrived in quick succession.
The 24-year-old then engaged in a game of cat and mouse with McLaren’s Carlos Sainz in the closing laps, however, held his nerve for a well-received first win.
Here is what Gasly had to say about his thrilling triumph, future battles against the young guns of the sport, and driving for the ‘coolest’ team on the grid:
We saw you had a phone call from President Macron, what did he say? Who else got in touch?
This was the most unexpected and the best phone call of the ones I had in the last 24 hours. He just wanted to congratulate me, say he was really proud and the whole country was proud of what I achieved. We had to wait a long 24 years to listen to the French national anthem on the F1 podium. These words coming from your president are always very touching and made me realise a little bit of what we had done. It also made me proud obviously and really happy. I still haven’t had the chance to go through all my messages – it has been really hectic and crazy since the race – but I have had messages from people I would not have expected. Many soccer players like Neymar Jr, (Kylian) Mbappé, Dani Alves, (Adrien) Rabiot and (Antoine) Griezmann, but also basketballers, tennis players and cyclists. Just insane. I still can’t believe all the messages and support I received. It makes you feel special.
You are part of an exciting generation of young drivers alongside the likes of Max Verstappen, Lance Stroll, Charles Leclerc, Lando Norris and George Russell – do you expect F1 will see some memorable battles between you guys in the future?
I’m pretty sure, yes! We started quite young in karting and then after we kind of took different roads to F1 at different times but now we are all back on the same grid, and we all wish to be fighting together for the same things like we used to do in the old karting days. I think we will see it in the future as well.
You all seem fearless and full of fun. How positive is that for the future of F1?
I think it is good. People said it was great for F1 because it was an unexpected podium, an unexpected win and that is what people want to see. They like it when it is unpredictable. I got a lot of great feedback after the race. Hopefully, we can see more races like this in the future.
Can you talk us through your Call of Duty games with Leclerc and Hamilton? Who wins?
We actually team up altogether. It was kind of different as normally we try to beat each other, and this time we had to work out a way to win together. It was really good fun and I really like Lewis and Charles who I have known a little longer. I started to get to know Lewis two years ago. We had a lot of fun and in COVID-19 times where life wasn’t as fun or exciting and we didn’t have as much adrenaline or excitement, it was a nice way to relax. When we get on track, it is a different story.
Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda is a team full of energy and positivity. How has the mindset of the team helped with your results?
Since the start of the year, it has been a fresh start for the team, even though the people are pretty much the same. I really like the vision they are bringing into our team, but also the brand. I have always loved fashion, so it is the ideal situation as I have my two favourite passions together. I really like the vision and energy – it is fresh and cool – and I think everyone enjoys it. Everyone says we have the coolest kit on the grid and are the coolest team!