Pierre Gasly met and dined with a childhood hero in Miami, so it is unsurprising to hear him say it was the best dinner he has ever had “by far”.
The AlphaTauri driver ate with basketball legend Michael Jordan ahead of the Miami Grand Prix weekend, with the Frenchman able to take advice from one of the greats of modern sport in their evening together.
And to Gasly, he was someone from whom to take inspiration throughout his childhood, so his evening with the sporting superstar understandably left a lasting impression.
“Well, it was by far the best dinner I ever had really,” Gasly told reporters in Florida. “Honestly, super, super-inspiring.
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“Really special evening, just to learn, you know, like the experience and to be able to hear from such a successful guy.
“I don’t think there was anyone else that inspired me more since I was a kid. And yeah, it was very, very special.”
Fernando Alonso has made the effort to swap helmets with his fellow drivers over the years and while there was not a like-for-like exchange that could happen between Jordan and the AlphaTauri driver, the two were still able to give each other a gift.
“Yeah, I did,” Gasly smiled when the subject was brought up. “He did. Yeah, we exchanged. So I gave him one of my helmets and he gave me a pair of Jordans. So that was pretty cool.
“But no, mainly just to hear his experience, his career, the mentality, the leadership he has. Even at his age, he is so competitive and it was just an amazing, amazing evening.”
The inaugural outing in Miami saw celebrities flock to the grand prix as Formula 1 launched its second American race, which will be joined by Las Vegas from 2023 onwards.
Such has been the growth in Formula 1’s popularity, even in the time Gasly has been racing, that he feels the United States is a completely different place for F1 to visit now.
“Coming here four or five years ago, I remember all the fans knew about NASCAR, not many knew about Formula 1,” he elaborated.
“I think to see the evolution, the exposure we got as a sport over the last two, three years, it’s been very impressive and now the fanbase is just growing massively.
“And we can feel it, as drivers, when we see Austin last year – 450,000 people coming over the weekend was a very special and unique atmosphere.”