It’s truly mind-boggling to believe that it’s almost three years’ since Pierre Gasly‘s famous maiden win at the 2020 Italian Grand Prix, with the Frenchman having claimed his first win at the same venue as Sebastian Vettel did in 2008.
Gasly’s win at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza remains as one of the greatest and most unexpected in the history of Formula 1, with Carlos Sainz having claimed second for the McLaren F1 Team, with Lance Stroll in third for Racing Point. It was truly an unpredictable podium, with Gasly’s maiden win having been Scuderia AlphaTauri‘s first since Vettel’s maiden win in 2008.
It was well and truly Gasly’s “time to shine”, with his AT01 now set to be displayed in Madrid at the world’s first official Formula 1 Exhibit, which opens in Madrid on March 24. His car will be placed in the Exhibition’s Design Lab room, where fans will be able to see the AT01 in all its glory.
To this day, Gasly still believes that being known as a “Formula 1 race winner” is one of the greatest things in his life, with the race being one that he’ll never forget.
“There is nothing better than being called a Formula 1 race winner. I would say in my life, this is probably what has sounded the best out of everything. It was an incredible moment,” Gasly told the Formula 1 Exhibition team.
“During the race, once I saw how things were shaping up, I knew okay, this is my moment. This is my time to shine. There’s no way I’m letting that opportunity slip away from my hands. I think we had 25 laps in the lead. They were long, but I must say I enjoyed every single lap. Being in control of that race was the best feeling I have experienced in Formula 1.
“The way that things happened, I don’t think I could have expected a better first F1 race win than with AlphaTauri, and as a midfield team we were not real contenders for victory. But still nevertheless, we had the right mindset and the right approach. Cars in Formula 1 make a big part of your results and of your performance. Sometimes it’s not that easy to achieve a top five, a podium or a race win. Even amazing drivers didn’t get the chance to experience that because they didn’t have the car.
“I am someone who is very calm, so I am able to clear my mind and just focus on the driving. But at the same time there is a switch. As soon as I pass the line, all these emotions – very, very strong emotions that I’ve been pushing away – come back and I just let everything go. I am very emotional and that is why once I pass the line, I always say the normal Pierre comes back to life. That’s when all the emotions come out.”
Remarkably, despite the race having been completed in-front of no spectators due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the race was watched by French President Emmanuel Macron, who Gasly hilariously failed to answer the phone to. The President tried calling Gasly to congratulate him, only for the French driver to be stuck in a driver briefing.
“This was 2020, right in the middle of COVID, so we didn’t have any spectators or anyone in the paddock. I was standing on top of the podium with no one in the grandstand. It was a very, very strange celebration. And then a couple of minutes later, the French President called to congratulate me for the race win, but unfortunately I couldn’t pick up because I was in the debriefing.
“I couldn’t answer my President, which was terrible. I tried to call him back, but he was definitely busy with other things, so I didn’t manage to get a hold of him!”