Pierre Gasly has admitted he “wasn’t ready” for his remarkable first F1 victory in the Italian Grand Prix.
The Frenchman produced the sport’s biggest shock result for many a year when he triumphed in a dramatic race at Monza, albeit helped greatly by Lewis Hamilton’s stop-go penalty for illegally entering the pit lane.
It capped an incredible turnaround for Gasly who, just over 12 months earlier, had suffered a distressing time when he was firstly demoted from the Red Bull team and then endured the trauma of the death of his friend Anthoine Hubert in an F2 crash at Spa.
The 24-year-old has recovered brilliantly and in a 2020 season when he has been performing superbly with a series of top-10 finishes, he added the crowning glory by giving AlphaTauri only their second F1 win – ironically, the first was also at Monza, by Sebastian Vettel in 2008 when they were known as Toro Rosso.
“I wasn’t ready for this win, even though you always try to imagine the best scenario, the best car, the best race, everything the best way,” said Gasly, quoted by Autosport.
“I know how important it was for me to get my first race win in Formula 1 and in the end it’s only my third season in F1.
“Even though I’ve been through a lot in the last two years, I still feel I’m quite new to this world and improving year after year and just getting better the whole time.
“I would have never expected this a year ago, when I got back to Toro Rosso. The podium (2019 Brazilian Grand Prix) was already unexpected and a big, big highlight last year.”
P1!! My first victory in F1!!🏆
I’m lost for words, still struggling to realise, its just amazing!!
Everything was perfect, just missed the tifosis down under the podium. @alphatauri we have done it!! Thanks everyone for all the messages & support!! Today is a day I’ll remember. pic.twitter.com/3eILYSMsIu
— PIERRE GASLY 🇫🇷 (@PierreGASLY) September 6, 2020
Although his victory had an element of good fortune to it, Gasly revealed that AlphaTauri team boss Franz Tost was “proud” that it had been achieved in dry conditions – whereas Vettel’s success 12 years ago was on a rain-affected weekend.
“We know it happened only once in the whole history of Toro Rosso in Formula 1,” said Gasly.
“Franz actually told me ‘you know we’ve done it in the wet, I’m really proud of you because now we’ve done it in the dry’.
“It was very difficult but I was just happy to show my speed. I’ve worked on myself day after day, race after race since last year and just trying to get stronger all the time.
“I’m really happy that I got the reward for all the hard work we’ve done with AlphaTauri and also with Honda.”