Pierre Gasly’s first race back with Scuderia Toro Rosso was a hugely emotional one, with the Frenchman securing a ninth place finish a day after losing his friend, Anthoine Hubert, in a horror crash during the FIA Formula 2 feature race at Spa-Francorchamps.
Hubert’s death ended a tough couple of weeks for Gasly, who during the summer break lost his seat with Red Bull Racing to Alexander Albon, but he was able to avoid the first lap, first corner carnage to run inside the points.
An early pit stop left him vulnerable towards the end of the race as his tyres struggled and he lost a couple of places to fall outside the points, but the late retirements for Lando Norris and Antonio Giovinazzi promoted him back into ninth, a position he would hold until the chequered flag.
“This was the most emotional race of my career, it was important for me to deliver the best performance I could for Anthoine,” said Gasly. “In the end it was a good result and I’m happy to get two points on my first race back with Toro Rosso.
“We knew it was going to be a tough race and we really went for it. We had an aggressive strategy pitting early, and we knew we would have to fight a lot on the second part of the race against the other guys on the softer compound.
“I gave it my best in attacking and defending, we had some good close racing and I’m really happy to score these two points, for the team and for Anthoine.”
Gasly says he learned more and more about the STR14 as the race went on, especially the differences between the Toro Rosso and the Red Bull RB15, and he hopes this will be beneficial to him in the upcoming races, starting this weekend at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza for the Italian Grand Prix.
“I’ve discovered quite a few more things about the car during the race,” said Gasly, “it’s quite different to the Red Bull one, and lap after lap I could feel it getting better so I’m sure there will be more to come in the upcoming races.”