Lewis Hamilton insists Pierre Gasly deserves the Formula 1 spotlight as he was not “treated fairly” when axed by Red Bull last year, while Sky F1’s Jenson Button has also praised Gasly after his epic Italian GP victory.
Gasly delivered a fairytale ending to an incident-filled race by becoming F1’s 109th different race-winner, with his against-the-odds triumph in the AlphaTauri coming little over a year after he was demoted to the junior team by Red Bull, just 12 races into his career with the front-running team.
It was the latest storming performance from Gasly, who in 2020 has outshone his Red Bull replacement Alex Albon, and he was a popular winner, earning glowing praise and tributes from across the grid.
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The sport’s six-time champion Hamilton congratulated Gasly on social media and in the TV pen after the race before telling the written media of his delight in the Frenchman’s F1 redemption story.
“Firstly, Pierre is just a really nice guy,” Hamilton, who finished seventh after a difficult afternoon, said. “I think he has a lot of talent and I don’t think he was necessarily treated fairly at Red Bull in the end when he got demoted.
Hopefully [Italy] creates an opportunity for him moving forwards. And he also beat the team that demoted him, so it’s definitely got to hurt for them.
Lewis Hamilton on Pierre Gasly
“It’s not easy for a driver when that happens and so I empathise with that.
“So then to build the confidence up in not as necessarily as quick a team and then to come around with some really great performances he’s had this year already with that car, and then to get himself a win, it’s not easy to do that.
“Really impressed, I think he’s done a fantastic job and deserves the success. Hopefully that creates an opportunity for him moving forwards. And he also beat the team that demoted him, so it’s definitely got to hurt for them.”
Button: Super Gasly has ‘picked himself up off the floor’
After earning the Red Bull call-up following a sparkling rookie year at Toro Rosso (now AlphaTauri), Gasly only lasted until the summer break with the senior outfit – struggling to match Verstappen – before being replaced by Albon.
But since that move, Gasly has scored two F1 podiums while Albon, who has faced similar problems next to Verstappen, is still waiting for his first.
On a difficult Sunday at Monza, Red Bull finished point-less with Albon only 15th and well out of contention, and Verstappen retiring.
“They should give this guy a chance, shouldn’t they!” joked Button about Red Bull and Gasly.
The 2009 world champion added: “He had the opportunity at a very young age to go into the top-tier team, and was out very quickly and had to drop down to this team. But he’s done such a good job this year.
“He’s learnt. He’s gone through so many emotions as a racing driver. He’s had to pick himself up off the floor almost, seeing someone take his seat at the top team.
“This is the thing that strengthens you as a driver, going through those tough times. And this year he’s just progressively got better, gained a lot of confidence and this [win] is going to give him even more.”
Could Gasly earn another Red Bull chance for 2021?
While Verstappen is signed up until 2023 with Red Bull, the team have not found a stable deputy next to the star Dutchman since Daniel Ricciardo left for Renault at the end of 2018.
Albon is not yet signed up for next year, although Red Bull continue to back him and say they are happy with his progress, which makes the British-born Thai the big favourite to retain his seat despite Gasly’s form.
Speaking to Sky Sports F1 after the race, AlphaTauri team boss Franz Tost stated he believed Gasly would likely stay where he is.
“If we lose him that means the team did a good job, otherwise they wouldn’t take him,” said Tost.
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