Pierre Gasly has had time to fully reflect on his Monza victory since the season’s conclusion, calling it a memory which “will never go away”.
The AlphaTauri driver’s surprise P1 finish at the Italian Grand Prix in September 2020 was one of the top moments of the season in the minds of many Formula 1 fans.
Gasly took advantage of Lewis Hamilton’s penalty for boxing when the pit lane was closed and the Frenchman also managed to withhold pressure from Carlos Sainz to clinch his first GP win.
Not only was it his maiden victory, but it ended a run of 146 consecutive races in which the winner came from either Mercedes, Ferrari or Red Bull.
His celebrations as he saw the chequered flag were understandably wild, but the occasion seemed to truly sink in as he sat on the podium post-race.
“I remember every single second of that race and of the celebration,” Gasly told Autosport.
“It’s something which is in my mind and will never go away.
“I would say this year was so compact and intense that it was actually hard to really take the time off, and get to relax and enjoy as much as probably I would have done in a more normal scenario without COVID.
“Still, when I had a week’s break between two races and I could get back home and I could realise, ‘OK, that’s what we’ve done’, and really try to think over and remember all of the emotions that we lived.
“It was something quite incredible. This year, Mercedes won pretty much all the races, except Max [Verstappen] and Checo [Perez] – and us. So it was really something incredible.”
— Planet F1 (@Planet_F1) September 8, 2020
While the intensity of the calendar may not have given Gasly the opportunity to reflect on the enormity of his achievement, he now gets an everyday reminder when he sees the trophy in his apartment.
Not only does it allow him the chance to reminisce on the good memories, it enables him to look forward and use it as motivation to go and repeat a similar feat in the 2021 season.
“When I’m in Italy in my apartment, that’s where I stayed over the [Monza] weekend, it was the first time to sleep at home for a race weekend,” said Gasly.
“I’m sat exactly there, the same place I had my breakfast before my win, and I see the trophy and kind of feels pretty special.
“It’s a great motivation. Every morning, I take my coffee with the trophy in front of me, and think ‘yeah, we’ve done it’. It’s not impossible, even though we were a midfield team.
“That should be a motivation for all of us in the team to try and repeat as much as we can, strong performances like we have had in Sao Paulo or in Monza.”