Pierre Gasly hailed his fighting spirit as he won his maiden Grand Prix in a hugely dramatic and momentous Italian GP at Monza.
The Frenchman, the first driver from his country to win a race since Olivier Panis in 1996, emerged victorious a week after a poignant tribute to his close friend Anthoine Hubert, who sadly passed away in a racing accident in Spa, Belgium in 2019.
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And 24-year-old Gasly, who was 2000-1 with some bookmakers to win before the race, admitted things hadn’t been easy.
“It’s amazing. I’m honestly lost for words, it’s unbelievable,” said Gasly, who was swiftly demoted from the senior Red Bull team midway through last season.
“I’ve been through so many things in 18 months, it’s better than anything I expected.
Pierre Gasly wins an epic #ItalianGP! 🇮🇹🏆
Carlos Sainz comes home second and Lance Stroll rounds off the podium in Monza!#SkyF1 | #F1
“I’m not someone that gives up on anything. I’ve always had to fight for everything in my life since I was in karting. My drive to be better is so strong.
“I’ve got no words – it’s an amazing day. It’s been so long since another French winner! I never expected this, I’m so happy!”
McLaren’s Carlos Sainz and Racing Point’s Lance Stroll rounded off a youthful – and totally unexpected – top three as the sport’s big hitters all struggled. Valtteri Bottas finished a distant fifth and Lewis Hamilton, coming back from last after a ten-second stop-go penalty, was seventh. The senior Red Bull team, meanwhile, failed to score any points.
And winner Gasly, driving for AlphaTauri – Red Bull’s junior outfit and Italy’s ‘second’ team – become the first team outside Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull to win a race since 2013.
There’s something Magical about us and Monza ❤️ 🇮🇹 #AlphaTauri #F1 #ItalianGP 🇮🇹 pic.twitter.com/myXqSZAuLR
He added: “This team has done so much for me. They gave me my first podium and today they’ve given me my first win.
“It feels amazing and a big thank you to all these guys. Most of these guys are Italian, they’ll be having a great time.
“I literally gave everything I had. I pushed so hard to open up a gap. The last five laps were so difficult. I’ll be sleeping next to the trophy, that’s for sure!”
“He’s secured his future in F1!”
Paul di Resta
Gasly widely praised for stunning drive
Many fellow drivers and pundits acclaimed Gasly for his superb composure under pressure, as he held off the quicker McLaren of Sainz for the final laps under huge pressure.
So so so happy for Pierre though. What a drive. He deserves it so much, enjoy it my friend.
Bravo "calamar" 🦑😘 pic.twitter.com/xugXgJvUqM
Lewis Hamilton said: “Congratulations to Pierre, it’s a huge result for him.
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