Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri, Monza, 2020

Gasly “struggling to believe” shock breakthrough win

2020 Italian Grand Prix

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Pierre Gasly says he is struggling to believe that he has won the Italian Grand Prix after taking his first career victory in a dramatic and chaotic race at Monza.

The AlphaTauri driver took a historic and unexpected win after a pivotal red flag stoppage and penalty for leader Lewis Hamilton saw him restart effectively in the lead of the race. Gasly held off Carlos Sainz Jnr in the closing laps after a pivotal red flag changed the course of the race.

Gasly struggled to find the words to describe his emotions after he became the 109th driver in world championship history to win a grand prix.

“Honestly, it’s unbelievable. I’m not sure I’m realising what’s happening right now,” says Gasly. “It was such a crazy race. We capitalised on the red flag. The car was fast. We had a pretty fast car behind us.”

Gasly paid tribute to his AlphaTauri team after a tumultuous start to his Formula 1 career that saw him demoted from Red Bull Racing back to the team in 2019.

“I’ve been through so much in the space of 18 months,” says Gasly. “My first podium last year with AlphaTauri, I was already like ‘wow’. And now my first win in Formula One in Monza… I struggle to realise.

“This team has done so much for me. They gave me my first opportunity in F1, they gave me my first podium, now they’ve given me my first win. It’s crazy, honestly. I’m so happy. I can’t thank them enough, Everyone from AlphaTauri to Honda too. It’s a power-sensitive track and we won the race ahead of all the Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault cars. So it’s just an amazing day.”

By taking his first win, Gasly becomes the first French driver to take the top spot on the podium since Olivier Panis took victory at the 1996 Monaco Grand Prix.

“Olivier Panis was the last one,” says Gasly. “I’ve always said since I came into F1, that’s one thing we need to change. It’s been so long. I never expected it would happen to us with AlphaTauri. We just kept focusing on ourselves since last year, working, improving, step-by-step. It’s crazy, honestly. I’m just so happy.”

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2020 Italian Grand Prix

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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39 comments on “Gasly “struggling to believe” shock breakthrough win”

  1. If only Sauber had some straight-line speed… :(

    1. Watching Kimi after the restart charging up to P2 brought a tear to my eye.

  2. Why are they so happy? They didn’t have a great car, they didn’t have a great driver, they didn’t have mechanical failures.
    They had luck, for leaders to drop out of their way and safety car / red flag to drop when it did. It’s not Toro Rosso with Vettel which was skillful driving of substandard machinery.

    1. @ivan-vinitskyy so what should they do? what would be a more appropriate reaction?

      1. @naylamp admit to being lucky and not pretend they’ve pulled off an unreal feat of winning through excellence.

    2. if they didnt have the pace why didnt the mclarens and bottas blast past him then

      1. @f1fan-2000 Because track position is king, and 0.5sec pace difference isn’t enough to get ahead. Yet, Gasly was gifted this greatest advantage of being near the top at restart. Mercedes fought in quali, fought at start, payed in time and money for raw performance through engineering development of car.

        1. Yeah, track position is king, and they got lucky. I don’t think that negates the car or the driver.

          Admittedly, the car isn’t an outright race winner. But Pierre is a skilled driver. He wasn’t able to make the Red Bull sing, but few can. He did what Hulkeberg couldn’t. When luck gave him a chance, he didn’t crash.

          1. lol, he didn’t crash… what an argument…

    3. @ivan-vinitskyy The Toro Rosso Vettel was driving was a carbon copy of the Red Bull of the same year except for the engine. Rules have changed since and this is not possible anymore.
      It’s even harder nowadays given the Alpha Tauri is relatively less competitive than the Toro Rosso was.

      1. @x303 the STR did not have the exact same aero, it had a less advanced version. Aside from that the Red Bull was not a great car, and I do not understand why, to this day, people still imply that the STR was a competitive car because it was so close to the Red Bull.
        Vettel won on merit with a subpar car.

        That being said Gasly drove a great race, fought tooth and nail to keep out of Sainz’s DRS range and ultimately did enough to get the win. They can be more than happy, they should be ecstatic, and above all they should not mind detractors. They’re race winners, period.

        1. @mattds The base Red Bull Technologies developed for that year (which was used and adapted by both teams) was miles ahead of the Super Aguri and Force India of the time (the only cars to no score points in 2008). It was not a great car, but it was not the limping dog some claim it was.

          1. @x303 I’m not the one saying it was a “limping dog”, but it was not a competitive car either.

        2. AT the time when Vettel won, that STR was faster than the mother team at some tracks, because their Ferrari engine was, for a while during that year, the better engine @mattds, @x303, @ivan-vinitskyy

          1. @bascb May I point you at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_Formula_One_World_Championship so you can refresh your memory? Specifically at constructor standings where STR is 6th? and RBR 7th? It really doesn’t matter… that car shouldn’t have won but did.

          2. seems you did not watch F1 that year did you @ivan-vinitskyy? Also, if you really want to just look at race finishes in the wiki page – just take a look at the races before and after Monza 2008 and compare where Webber finished (he drove the Red Bull) and where Vettel finished in the Toro Rosso. Yeah, there it is too, Vettel finished all of the races before and after Monza clearly ahead of the RB too.

            Oh, and Bourdais (in the other STR) had quite a bit of bad luck otherwise he could have been not far behind Vettel for several of those races.

    4. Bet you’re great at parties

    5. Why is Lewis always happy to win? He’s only lucked into having prodigious talent, and the fastest car. He doesn’t even take testing, sim work and press events seriously.
      /s

    6. You know what, Ivan, a freaking Merc didn’t win, Hamilton didn’t win, and we got some ACTION and unpredictability , which the sport’s fans deserve and are clamoring for. We need more of this, not more, “oh well, Hamilton leads into turn 1, race over.” Kudos to Alpha Tauri, McLaren, and RP, this was a 10-10 race.

      1. @jblank Read book, watch a movie or close your eyes and dream…. that’s where you can get your entertainment, entertainment that is laughable for the sake of being entertaining. Sport isn’t meant to be entertaining in a farcical way… don’t make it or even demand it.

        1. @ivan-vinitskyy Oh go play in traffic. What a joke you are. Boo boo, Hammy didn’t win this week, cry me a river. You’ll be ok infant, I am sure he will win next week.

    7. Vettel had a Newey Red Bull with a more powerful Ferrari engine, hardly a slug.

  3. Even for me that was so unexpected. I nearly shed a tear.

  4. Behold… The Pierrenaissance!

  5. Luck favours the bold. Honda had one of the best energy management and low end torq since 2018. Hamilton couldn’t race Gasly up the hill at Interlagos last year. At Monza, Gasly was recovering a lot of ground after the “variantes”. Gasly won on merit, no mistakes.
    Bottas lost on merit, though.

    1. Bottas just isnt good enough to give LH a problem never mind a challenge. I wish someone else was in that Merc

  6. To be accurate, it was Stroll in the effective lead of the GP, not Gasly. Great to see him win – I for one cannot even fathom how he’s won a race before Albon after the seat swap last year.

    1. @sebsronnie Weird, yes that he achieved both a podium finish and a race win earlier than Albon despite the latter having the machinery-advantage out of these two.

    2. To be fair to Albon, if Hamilton hadn’t have tangled with him in the first race, Albon would have already won one.

      1. According to Wikipedia, Albon retired from the race on an engine issue. Therefore I suppose he wouldn’t have won had he passed Hamilton.

      2. Albon was so poor at racecraft to leave a door wide open for Ham to attempt an overtake. You must see he’s at last 50% responsible for that crash.

  7. Gasly’s reaction and his team’s at the win were fantastic to behold. Totally deserved victory, however bizarre the race, since he had to hold off Sainz’s challenge. His recovery from last year has been really impressive, the Spa race a standout already. Congratulations.

    1. @david-br Totally deserved? Have you been watching the race… where he was gifted position at the front? He may have kept Sainz behind but midfield drivers do that every week… and we don’t say they deserve wins right.

      1. @ivan-vinitskyy Yes, I think so, kept his cool and his pace. Sure, circumstances gave him the chance of the win. But not all drivers take those chances. And it wasn’t fluke driving, Gasly has shown real pace and a lot of courage all season. I don’t know anyone else who deserved the win more today. Hamilton was impressive on track as usual, but he and the team did mess up with the pit entry signs. Excusable under the circumstances, but a mistake still.

        1. @david-br I’d give it to Ham. Then I’d give it to Sainz, who got there all by himself through great quali and start. Then Maybe Norris or Perez.

  8. By taking his first win, Gasly becomes the first French driver to take the top spot on the podium since Olivier Panis took victory at the 1996 Monaco Grand Prix.

    Please don’t let that stat curse him to being another one time only winner!

    1. It’s not a curse, its just a fact. He’s been in F1 long enough to show what he can do and the answer is not much. He’s not Max, Ham or Alonso and never will be anything close. Flukes like today don’t happen to same drivers multiple times.

      1. @ivan-vinitskyy Give it a rest: you’re as boring as Hamilton winning all the time.

        This was a well deserved win, because he held off Sainz to do it

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