Gasly dedicates P8 to Hubert after ‘intense’ Eau Rouge overtake
The Belgian Grand Prix has been a whirlwind of emotions for Pierre Gasly, who began the weekend laying flowers for his late friend Anthoine Hubert, and ended it by dedicating his scintillating Driver of the Day run to P8 in his countryman’s memory.
And if there was a highlight in a race full of action, it was surely the buttock-clenching pass he made on Racing Point’s Sergio Perez through, of all places, Eau Rouge.
“That was intense!” Gasly said. “So many things happened in my race – apparently it wasn’t really exciting from the outside, but mine was actually quite intense.
“That move on Perez I saw the opportunity and I committed. He really squeezed me, I don’t know how many centimetres I had on his side but not many. I knew I would not leave there - I wanted to make the move. I don’t know how it looked from outside but from inside it was a pretty good one.”
Part of the reason for Gasly’s all-action drive was his strategy. The Frenchman started on the hards and made good progress in the opening stages against those ahead who’d started on the softs, moving up to P7 by the time the safety car was called to deal with Antonio Giovinazzi and George Russell’s big crash.
AlphaTauri then had little choice but to leave their man out, which lifted him to fourth temporarily but meant he then had to make a pit stop under racing conditions – dropping him to the back of the field and leaving him with a lot of overtaking to do.
Between his pit stop on lap 26 and the end of the race he passed eight cars - including Perez for a second, slightly less spectacular time - but without that safety car, Gasly reckons a top five place was on the cards.
“We knew before the race a safety car from lap 10 to 20 would be the worst for us because it gives a free pits top to the guys on options [soft tyres].
“Looking back from where we started I think it was a nice gamble and honestly it worked well. The safety car I think cost us a top five because [Esteban] Ocon in P5 was only six or seven seconds [ahead at the flag] and those guys had a free pit stop.
“So the car was great, I felt good, I pushed as hard as I could. Personally, it was an important race for me, especially with what happened to Anthoine and today I’m really happy to get these points for him.”
Gasly has now scored points in four of the seven races so far in 2020, his tally of 18 points putting him 12th in the drivers’ standings, four places and 16 points ahead of team mate Daniil Kvyat who finished 11th in Spa.