Formula 1 had its 109th different winner yesterday following the events of an unforgettable Italian Grand Prix in Monza. A mere 109 drivers have been Grand Prix victors in 70 years of the sport – a staggering fact in itself. However, what’s more staggering is the fact that the 109th winner was Pierre Gasly who in the last 18 months has been met with a whole host of emotions both on and off track and one such event obviously being his demotion from Red Bull Racing to its ‘sister team’. As such, Lewis Hamilton is in no doubt that Gasly’s maiden F1 Grand Prix victory will sting a little for those at Red Bull Racing.
After such a dramatic Italian Grand Prix, the pitlane was filled with jubilant team members and there was the beautiful sight of the ‘big boys’ of Red Bull Racing applauding the AlphaTauri mechanics as they ran in delight towards the podium. Nevertheless, the reigning champion Lewis Hamilton spoke after the race as to how he feels Red Bull Racing may regret having released the latest Grand Prix winner to enter the history books.
"Pierre is just a really nice guy, and I think he has a lot of talent," Hamilton said.
"I don't think he was necessarily treated fairly at Red Bull in the end when he got promoted, and I think it's not easy for a driver when that happens, so I empathise with that.”
"To then build the confidence up in not necessarily as quick a team, and build the confidence up, and to come around with some really great performances he's had this year already.”
"Then to get himself a win, I think it's not easy to do that. [I'm] really impressed."
"He's done a fantastic job, and deserves the success...Hopefully that creates an opportunity for him moving forwards.
"Also, he beat the team that demoted him. That's definitely got to hurt for them."
Lewis Hamilton’s praise for the Frenchman was extended further later on, as reported on mercedesamg-f1.com:
“Huge congratulations to Pierre, it’s a fantastic result for him and it’s great to see such a young podium. Obviously, I’ve seen what Pierre’s been through, being dropped from a top team and then beating that top team today. It’s fantastic to see him recover and see him grow, so I’m very happy for him.”
This unexpected outcome came about as a result of a stop and go penalty administered to the number 44 Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton as a result of ignoring the sign that the pit lane entry was closed but entering nonetheless.
The 6-time F1 Drivers’ Champion shared his thoughts of his own performance having lavished praise on Pierre Gasly:
My race wasn’t meant to be. I didn’t see the boards saying the pit lane was closed because I was following the safety car delta on my dash, so I take responsibility for that and it’s something that we’ll investigate and learn from. That stop/go pit stop was long, and I had 26 seconds to catch up to the next car. I was giving it absolutely everything. I honestly didn’t expect to get seventh and fastest lap at that point in the race. I took a lot of life out of the tyres closing the gap and there was a lot of turbulence from the other cars, which made it hard to follow them. But once I caught up to everybody, it was a fun battle and I still got some good points. I’ll definitely take the result and am grateful for it. We’ll move onto the next one and I look forward to it.
As for the race victor, the sight of Pierre Gasly drenching himself in champagne on the top step of the podium is an image that will last with me for a while. You can also be sure that it is one that will stay with Red Bull Racing’s senior team members and we shall see if any changes come later in the season due to that.
For now the headlines belong to AlphaTauri and Gasly’s superb performance – Merci Pierre!