Pierre Gasly has been one the revelations of the 2020 Formula 1 season, finishing tenth in the drivers standings and scoring his first F1 victory in a crazy race in Monza.
Since that, all eyes have been again on the Frenchman, after the "switch" between him and Alex Albon for the Red Bull Racing seat. In an open letter last month, Gasly revealed what happened and how he felt in the famous Belgian GP weekend when one of his closest friends Anthoine Hubert lost his life during a F2 race.
Since that terrible and unfortunate incident, Gasly is a new driver and everyone felt that but Dr. Helmut Marko. The Austrian advisor is famous for his lack of patience with young drivers; despite the good results AlphaTauri is getting in the first weekends of 2021, Marko still has some criticism towards Gasly, suggesting there's more pace to be found from the AlphaTauri AT02 than what the French driver is capable of.
"I would say that Max [Verstappen] would certainly have squeezed out two or three tenths in qualifying [for the Bahrain Grand Prix]," Marko told media, including RacingNews365.com; "He would certainly not have been on pole," Marko continued.
In Bahrain Gasly qualified fifth, 0.8 seconds away from pole position, but a contact in the first lap ruined his race; in Imola, Pierre was fifth again but finished seventh because of a wrong strategy from the pitwall when they chose full wet tyres at the start.
Gasly's response to Marko was clear: "To me, it's, let's say, it's very simple" he said to RacingNews365.com.
"I don't care about hypothetical stuff. In fact, this one, this qualifying was one of the best qualifying in history for the team. And the only conclusion is that if I have a fast car, I can be extremely fast. And that's the only conclusion. Point".
The 2020 season showed how much Gasly performances have improved in an enviroment like the Faenza team box, but despite the good results and the win in Monza, Pierre wasn't really a contender for his old seat in Red Bull, but speculations began linking him to Renault, now Alpine, from the 2022 season.
"Honestly, I'm done with the question with Red Bull - Gasly admitted - and I don't feel like answering this anymore, because this was already two years ago. I really moved on from this".
The AlphaTauri dimension, still, is the one of a junior team and despite the good feeling and results with the Faenza team, Gasly knows he won't stay forever with Red Bull little sister. Anyway, the time in Faenza will help him to improve himself, especially his consistency, and the frenchman points Lewis Hamilton as an example.
"What makes the difference with Lewis for example is consistency. I think Lewis is obviously very fast on one lap but what makes him excellent is that he's just there on every occasion, even when things go wrong".
"He always manages to save a couple of points from every occasion, just the management in general and being able to be 100 percent on all occasions. It's a sport where we don't practice - football, basketball they practice every single day. For us we practice once every two weeks when it is the race weekend. We don't get in the car in between and obviously the more races you have under your belt the stronger you are and the more experience you get. I believe it makes you a more complete driver."
Despite his history in Formula 1 and the bad times in Red Bull, Gasly knows he can deliver and come back to fight for the championship.
"I really believe that I have the experience, the speed and the ability to fight for a championship - he continued - I've done it in the past, obviously F1 is different with stronger drivers, but I have won championships compared to other drivers that didn't in single-seaters.
"I know what it takes, I know what it requires and I know that if I am in a car that will be in a position to fight for wins every weekend that I'd be able to do it.
"Obviously, experience plays quite a big role in the sport and I can still develop and get better. There are many areas where I can get stronger but I know I have the abilities, and I am putting in the effort and the work that is required to be on top".
In the long interview, Gasly spoke about his new team mate, Yuki Tsunoda, class 2000, very fast but also impetuos, as some mistakes in Imola showed. Despite this, Yuki has showed incredible performances during these race weekends.
"Very good, he's extremely good, extremely fast. He showed it and I think I'm really happy to be with someone that can push the car and also push the team because it can be only beneficial for us and the whole performance of the team".
"He did well for his first race, qualified in Q2, and finished ninth behind the McLaren and the Ferrari. So he did well, and I think that's positive and important for the team".