Pierre Gasly says he needed to use the same fighting spirit that had helped him get in to Formula 1 to disprove ‘bullshit’ claims that he had forgotten how to drive last year.
The Frenchman endured a difficult start to 2019 with Red Bull, when his struggle to get on the pace of teammate Max Verstappen prompted his bosses to swap him with Toro Rosso’s Alex Albon.
While some suggested that could be the end of Gasly’s F1 career, he responded in brilliant fashion – and famously beat Lewis Hamilton to grab a podium finish at the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Reflecting on how he stayed so strong after the disappointment of losing his Red Bull seat mid-season, Gasly said that the lessons learned in battling his way up the motor racing ladder put him in good stead.
“It is a bit the way I’ve been educated and also the way I grew up, that I had to fight for everything I wanted in life,” he told Motorsport.com in an exclusive interview.
“Nobody ever gave me this and I never took anything for granted, because every time it wasn’t sure if I will continue the year after. It wasn’t sure if I will get these seats [in the future] , unless I delivered or performed exactly on that day. Otherwise everything will not be happening. I always had this mentality.
“So I needed to just focus on myself because I’m, at the end of the day, the one that will make things happen.
“So there was this swap, and I just felt like okay, this was an unfair situation and now it’s up to me to prove basically to everyone that it was just not the right way.”
Gasly said he was particularly frustrated that some were so quick to right him off in F1 after a few difficult races with Red Bull, in spite of all he had done before in the sport.
“I thought now I’ve got these nine races basically to prove my point and prove the speed and prove the skills I have,” he said.
“Of course I’ve been always competitive since I started in single seaters, and then in these six months everybody then questions: “Okay, does he have the talent?” “Does he have the speed?” “Has he forgot how to drive?” “Has he forgot how to brake?” “How well does he turn the wheel right now?”
“[But] it’s not something you forget in two-three weeks, you know. For me it was important, and it was people talking shit without having the information, or having partial information or not even knowing.
“So for me it was really important to give 110% of myself, to make sure I was on top of my game for these nine races and just show basically the speed I have to stop the bullshit.”
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