AlphaTauri team boss Franz Tost has hailed Pierre Gasly’s “fantastic drive” in the Belgian Grand Prix, which was also recognised by F1 fans.
Gasly was voted Driver of the Day for his exploits at Spa, an award that was certainly merited on a particularly poignant weekend.
A year earlier, the Frenchman arrived at Spa having just been demoted from the senior Red Bull-owned team to their sister Toro Rosso outfit, as AlphaTauri were then named, because his performances alongside Max Verstappen had not been up to scratch.
Then Gasly endured the horror of his friend and rival in junior series, Anthoine Hubert, suffering a fatal accident during an F2 race – a tragedy which was at the front of the drivers’ minds 12 months on.
This time, however, Gasly left Belgium feeling much happier after finishing P8 thanks to a stellar drive – his contrary strategy had him running P4 for a time before dropping down the order when he stopped for fresh tyres and then working his way back up into the points.
The 24-year-old again ended up in front of his team-mate Daniil Kvyat, who started and finished P11 whereas Gasly improved four positions on his grid slot.
Tost explained: “Both of our drivers had a really good start and Pierre immediately began to overtake the cars in front, moving up to P8.
“After (Antonio) Giovinazzi’s crash which brought out the Safety Car, we decided to leave Pierre out on the hard tyre as for our strategy it was too early to pit him.
“Pierre did a very good job defending his position until other drivers managed to overtake him on fresher tyres, so we pitted him for mediums on lap 26.
“He then started a competitive comeback to close the gap and was able to overtake the Haas, Ferrari and Racing Points to finish in eighth position.
“It was a fantastic drive from Pierre and without the Safety Car, our strategy to start on the hard tyres would have paid off even more as I think Pierre could have finished higher up the order.”
Tost is now looking forward to the Italian Grand Prix at Monza where he says “we have very good memories” – meaning victory in 2008 when Sebastian Vettel’s triumph in the rain from pole position meant he became, at the time, the youngster F1 race winner at the age of 21.