Gasly knew Max would go ‘all out’ on last Abu Dhabi lap

Jamie Woodhouse
Max Verstappen's Red Bull in front of fireworks after winning the Abu Dhabi GP. Yas Marina December 2021.

Max Verstappen's Red Bull in front of the fireworks after winning the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Yas Marina December 2021.

Max Verstappen put on the softs and gave it everything to snatch the title in Abu Dhabi, a move which Pierre Gasly saw coming.

It was rather fitting that an epic 2021 title battle between Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton went down to the last lap of the final race, with Verstappen making the pass on Hamilton to become World Champion for the first time in his career.

During a late Safety Car period, Verstappen had fresh soft tyres fitted, hoping for one final shot at Hamilton if the race restarted, having been unable to make much of an impression on the Mercedes driver throughout the earlier stages.

Ultimately, that strategy call paid off in a huge way, one which Gasly saw coming from his former Red Bull team-mate.

“I was sure that Max would go all out on fresh soft tyres to win the championship,” said Gasly in an interview with Motorsport.com.

“We are talking about the chance to become World Champion with only one lap to go. It’s hard to imagine what that must have been like in the car. You just have to get past the other car.

“I thought it was a great move by Max and the corners that followed were also very intense. This was one of those moments that will be talked about in our sport for years to come.”

Max Verstappen holds the Drivers' trophy. Paris December 2021.
Max Verstappen poses after receiving the Drivers' Championship trophy at the FIA prize-giving ceremony. Paris December 2021.

Verstappen delivered Red Bull’s first taste of title glory since 2013, but Gasly felt that it was always a matter of time before the Austrian outfit returned to the summit.

Gasly raced for the team during the first-half of 2019, before returning to Red Bull’s second team Toro Rosso, now known as AlphaTauri.

“I always knew Red Bull would win again at some point,” he stated.

“They have won the title four times with Sebastian Vettel and have a brilliant team full of clever people. I knew it was coming.”

 

That being said, such was the intense nature of the 2021 battle between Verstappen and Hamilton, with the championship lead swinging between both drivers, Gasly was not sure that 2021 was going to be the year where Red Bull got the job done.

“But it was so intense last year that I wasn’t sure if it was going to be Max or Lewis,” Gasly continued.

“It was great to follow the battle between the two best Formula One teams of the moment. I watched the highlights after the weekend races last year and loved seeing what was happening at the front of the field.”

 

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