Lewis Hamilton sent congratulations to Pierre Gasly on his outstanding maiden Formula 1 victory at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza on Sunday, particularly after what the Frenchman has endured in the past twelve months in the sport.
Gasly was dropped by the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing team midway through the 2019 season and then saw his close friend Anthoine Hubert lose his life in a horror FIA Formula 2 crash just weeks later.
But the Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda driver responded in the best possible way on Sunday, driving superbly to take the victory. Hamilton said it was a ‘fantastic result’ for the Frenchman, even if the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team’s own race was ruined by a safety car indiscretion and a ten-second stop and go penalty.
“Huge congratulations to Pierre, it’s a fantastic result for him and it’s great to see such a young podium” said Hamilton. “Obviously, I’ve seen what Pierre’s been through, being dropped from a top team and then beating that top team today.
“It’s fantastic to see him recover and see him grow, so I’m very happy for him.”
Hamilton said he did not see the two LED boards indicating that the pit lane was closed whilst the marshals removed the stricken car of Kevin Magnussen from the side of the road, but he bemoaned the penalty that was handed to him that ended his chances of another race win.
He was, however, pleased with the recovery from the back of the field to seventh at the chequered flag, with the bonus point for fastest lap as well, to minimise his points loss to team-mate Valtteri Bottas in the Drivers’ Championship.
“My race wasn’t meant to be,” admitted Hamilton. “I didn’t see the boards saying the pit lane was closed because I was following the safety car delta on my dash, so I take responsibility for that and it’s something that we’ll investigate and learn from.
“That stop/go pit stop was long, and I had 26 seconds to catch up to the next car. I was giving it absolutely everything. I honestly didn’t expect to get seventh and fastest lap at that point in the race. I took a lot of life out of the tyres closing the gap and there was a lot of turbulence from the other cars, which made it hard to follow them.
“But once I caught up to everybody, it was a fun battle and I still got some good points. I’ll definitely take the result and am grateful for it. We’ll move onto the next one and I look forward to it.”
“There’s lots of things for us to review and understand” – Valtteri Bottas
Team-mate Bottas endured a tough Italian Grand Prix, falling to sixth on the opening lap from a front-row start, and then struggling to make any headway in the turbulent air from the cars in front.
He was able to jump Daniel Ricciardo during the pit stops but he was unable to better fifth at the chequered flag, stuck as he was behind McLaren F1 Team’s Lando Norris.
“That was a difficult day out there,” said Bottas. “The start was pretty poor and on the first lap, I had a bit of contact and thought I had a puncture, but it turned out I didn’t.
“I had massive understeer and the car was pulling to one side. It recovered but then I was suffering some overheating issues with the engine running in traffic, so there wasn’t much I could do. Every time I got close to another car, I had to back off due to the overheating or look for clean air on the straights, which meant I couldn’t get the tow.
“It felt a bit better after the red flag and towards the end of the race, but there’s lots of things for us to review and understand. We’ll debrief and then move onto Mugello. We should have a good car there but it’s going to be tough to overtake, so Qualifying will be crucial.”