If someone said to you on Sunday morning that Pierre Gasly would be a Grand Prix winner by the end of the day, I don’t think too many people would have agreed, at least not seriously considering it. However, the beauty of Formula One is that it isn’t over until you take the checkered flag and despite Lewis Hamilton dominating the early stages of the race, one retirement for Magnussen changed the whole outlook of the race.
Pierre Gasly taking the win at the 2020 Italian Grand Prix is something that many Formula One fans were happy to see. Sure, he has his critics and his performances for Red Bull last season weren’t exactly the best, but we are seeing the problems within Red Bull being admitted by themselves and Gasly isn’t fully at fault for last season.
The month of August 2019 was probably the worst month for Gasly in his racing career. He got kicked out of Red Bull just days after the team gave him a vote of confidence, and that was followed by the tragic death of his close friend Anthoine Hubert, in the Formula 2 Feature Race the day before his first Grand Prix back with Toro Rosso.
I think Gasly is lucky to have been put back in the Toro Rosso because Red Bull could have very easily just kicked him out altogether. I honestly believe the lack of drivers in the Red Bull Academy is the only reason that Gasly is still in the sport, and it isn’t because of his talent.
The Red Bull Driver Academy is cut-throat but successful. It has helped develop the careers of Vettel, Ricciardo & Verstappen but almost also ended the careers of Hartley, O’Ward and Ticktum.
For Gasly to bounce back the way he has is inspirational, he has a ‘Don’t Quit’ attitude and this is what has made him so likeable. He could have very easily just honoured his contract and leave Formula One after feeling rather disheartened being dropped, but instead, he put in the work and managed to get his first podium at the end of the season in Brazil.
If Red Bull offered Gasly the opportunity to race in the Red Bull again it would be a different story to last. He has learned from his mistakes, analysed what went wrong and did exactly what his friend Hubert told him to do, ‘Prove them wrong’.
I honestly believe that Gasly has the potential to be a World Champion. The Red Bull move has painted the wrong picture in people’s heads, and he was in probably the most difficult seat on the grid. He was in probably the third-best car last year but was the second driver and there was a thin line between finishing in the top six and missing out on points due to how competitive the midfield is. The only thing standing in his way is Red Bull, Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton unless Ferrari can get their act together quickly.
If there was ever a driver that the majority of F1 fans were happy to see win, it was Pierre.