Pierre Gasly holds huge respect for the retiring Sebastian Vettel, revealing a call between them at a pivotal stage of Gasly’s career.
The career paths of Gasly and Vettel shared a major similarity in the early stages, both drivers having contested large parts of their respective careers within the Red Bull programme, Gasly still a Red Bull-linked driver to this day.
But, at the end of the 2016 campaign, as Gasly celebrated winning the GP2 title, he found himself at a difficult point in his career as there was no clear opening for him to step up onto the Formula 1 grid straightaway.
At that stage then, he decided that he needed some advice from a driver with plenty of Red Bull experience, that being Vettel, who he had got to know a little better when their paths had crossed previously. Gasly’s Red Bull affiliation just starting at that time, while Vettel’s was nearing its end.
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So, Gasly would call Vettel for some advice on where to go with his career, Vettel staying on the line with him for quite some time.
Speaking on Tauri Talk with AlphaTauri, Gasly said: “I have so much respect for Seb. I had the chance to when I joined Red Bull, I think it was his last year at Red Bull, so I was going a bit more to the factory and I got the chance to get closer to him and see how he worked with the team.
“To me it’s phenomenal the amount of focus, the work ethic that he’s got, is just outstanding and I mean he’s a four-time World Champion, he’s one of the most successful drivers in our sport, so you’ve got to respect that. Amazing driver, amazing guy, very driven.
“And I remember once I got my my GP2 title, so 2016, and I didn’t get my chance straight away to Formula 1, it was quite a hard time for me because I felt like ‘okay, I’ve done all the steps before Formula 1’.
“And yeah, I called him over that winter or towards the end of the season and I just called him, being very honest and asking him his opinion about my situation and how I should handle it for my career, what steps I should make and just to get his opinion as a champion and past Red Bull driver.
“And we had a call actually in Singapore and he stayed with me for an hour, hour and a half, just telling me his views and how focused I should stay. The step I should make with Red Bull, with Helmut [Marko] from his experience etcetera.
“And I was super grateful for that, I didn’t expect him to help me that much. So, you know, I’ve always been supportive of Seb and always respected him massively as an F1 driver but also as a person because I think he’s definitely, genuinely a very great guy.”
Gasly’s team-mate Yuki Tsunoda said that having only first met Vettel when he joined the grid in 2021, he has had few interactions with the German racer than Gasly.
But, he did say that Vettel has come over to sit and talk with him before on the driver parades to keep him company, while he also respects Vettel hugely for speaking up in the drivers’ briefings and saying what he thinks, when most other drivers are too worried about the ramifications.
“Before the drivers’ parade this year when I was sitting by myself, he came next to me and we talked a little bit, he’s really kind,” said Tsunoda.
“And his personality, the things I kind of don’t have, for example in drivers’ briefings, every time he puts a lot of effort to make every situation better, even the things that most of us Formula 1 drivers struggle to say, because there’s lots of things that might happen in the background.
“But Seb thinks up really good things, probably will sacrifice something, but he always says straightaway and I like his personality so much and definitely Seb is a really important guy in Formula 1.”