Daniel Ricciardo singles out Pierre Gasly as Formula 1’s ‘most underrated driver’

Sam Cooper
Pierre Gasly speaking to Daniel Ricciardo during the driver parade. Monaco May 2022

AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly speaking to Daniel Ricciardo during the driver parade. Monaco May 2022

Pierre Gasly has been labelled as the most underrated driver in Formula 1 by his fellow racer Daniel Ricciardo.

In one of the most public sackings in Formula 1 history, Gasly was promoted to the Red Bull seat only to be given the boot 12 races later.

Gasly had just one full F1 season under his belt when he received the call from Christian Horner and co. telling him he had been chosen as the man to replace Ricciardo, who was departing for Renault.

Since his demotion, Gasly has gone on to earn his first podium followed by his first win in the sport and has rebuilt his reputation and standing within the sport. So much so that it has been recognised by one of his fellow drivers.

Ricciardo was asked by the Daily Express who he believed was the most underrated driver and he highlighted the AlphaTauri man as someone near the top of his list.

“Personally, I like Pierre Gasly,” the Australian said. “For the record, he’s not the only driver I like. I like him as a person, but also what he’s demonstrated, and he’s not the only one.

“Getting to the top of Red Bull, he got a really big opportunity with them and it was fairly short-lived.

“He got to the top, but as quickly as he got there, he got knocked back down. He’s showing really good character traits, really good resilience because he’s still fighting.

“Through all of that, he actually managed to win a race in 2020. He had a few podiums, so I think when everyone wrote him off, he came back even stronger.

“I’m happy for him as a human because I do like him, but as a competitor I respect that. Getting to the top is difficult, staying there is even harder.

“He went through a pretty big rollercoaster in 12 months, and I just know that he really fought back well from getting written off.”

Ricciardo himself is going through a tough time in the sport with strong rumours that McLaren have lined up Oscar Piastri to replace him at the team next year.

The rise and fall and rise again of Pierre Gasly

When Gasly was unceremoniously dumped from Red Bull after just 12 races, he would rightly have been left thinking ‘where do I go from here?’

He joined the sport in 2017 as a reserve driver for Toro Rosso before moving up to a full-time seat in the following year. After retiring in the season opener in Australia, he impressed with a P4 finish in Bahrain. He would go on to end the season in 15th position and with it, earn himself a seat at Red Bull following Ricciardo’s departure.

His career at the main team was by no means a disaster. He scored points in all but three of the races he competed in for Red Bull but failed to make the podium and was held against the unfairly high standard of Ricciardo’s final season at the team.

Despite a P6 in Belgium, he was demoted back to Toro Rosso, to be replaced by Alex Albon, another driver who would go on to struggle in the Red Bull hot seat.

In a sign of the maturity of the now 26-year-old, he has rarely spoken out against his harsh treatment and instead said it changed his mentality towards the sport.

In the same season, he earned his first podium place with a P2 in Brazil and a year later he joined an exclusive club of race winners after his miracle at Monza.

In the years that followed, Gasly rebuilt his reputation in the sport and while this season has been a struggle, he is considered one of the better drivers on the grid.

His name is often touted for moves to bigger teams such as McLaren or even an unlikely return to Red Bull but the Frenchman is almost unrecognisable in terms of confidence since his demotion from Red Bull in 2019.