Pierre Gasly says he told Charles Leclerc before the Belgian GP ‘please win this race for Anthoine’.
Anthoine Hubert died on Saturday following injuries he sustained in a horror crash with Juan Manuel Correa in the F2 Feature Race.
Tributes have been pouring in ever since for the 22-year-old and his compatriot Gasly revealed he asked Leclerc to claim the win in Belgium for Hubert, an achievement he pulled off for the first time in his Formula 1 career.
Gasly, Leclerc and Hubert had been close friends throughout their childhoods as the rose through the junior ranks.
“You are not ready at 22, 23 years old to live this kind of moment, to lose one of your best mates,” Gasly told reporters after finishing P9 in the race.
“I’ve grown up with this guy since I was seven in karting. We have been room mates, we’ve lived in the same apartment for six years. We’ve been classmates, I have studied since I was 13 until 19 with him the same professor in a private school.
“I feel shock, I did not realise how it can go so fast. It’s just terrible. I’ve already planned to see all our friends we had with Anthoine tomorrow because none of us really understand and realise what happened yesterday and it’s just super sad.
“I told Charles before the race ‘please win this race for Anthoine’ because we started racing in the same year, Charles, Anthoine and myself. And actually Anthoine won the French cup in 2005.
“We raced together for so many years and we all knew each other. Between Jules [Bianchi] a couple of years ago, now Anthoine, I think it’s really terrible news for French motorsport. They were two great, amazing characters. It’s just really difficult to realise.”
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Following the incident Lewis Hamilton claimed that the dangers of motorsport are “not appreciated enough” and Gasly admits Hubert’s death has given him a newfound appreciation for said dangers.
“Over the summer break I was talking about safety [with] people who are not drivers and they were like ‘F1 is so safe now, it’s completely different than it used to be before’, and I must say I agreed with them because it’s not something you think about.
“When you are in the car, I feel so safe I feel like almost nothing can happen to us. But at these kind of speeds it just brings you back to reality that whatever happens at 200, 250, 300, you can do whatever you want, I think there well be always this high chance of death and that’s also something we accept as drivers.
“But unfortunately there was this thing that happened to remind everybody it’s a really dangerous sport. I’m just really sad that it was one of my closest friends in racing.”