RACE DEBRIEF

    AlphaTauri Team Principal Franz Tost came away from the Italian Grand Prix having watched his driver Pierre Gasly take an emotional, and entirely unexpected, maiden win in F1. And although Tost was full of praise for the job the Frenchman had done at Monza, he revealed that he didn’t expect the result to lead to an imminent return to Red Bull for Gasly…

    Fortune initially favoured Gasly in the race, as he pitted on Lap 19 of 53, just before a Safety Car came out, before a subsequent red flag meant that Gasly restarted the race in third. But from there, he immediately jumped up to P2, which became the race lead when Lewis Hamilton served a 10-second stop/go penalty – with Gasly then doing a brilliant job to resist the McLaren of Carlos Sainz and take his first F1 victory.

    READ MORE: Gasly takes maiden win in Monza thriller from Sainz as penalty leaves Hamilton P7

    “I must say that Pierre drove a fantastic race without any mistakes,” said Tost after the Grand Prix. “He could keep the distance to Carlos, he controlled everything… We had good luck with the red flag. We were also lucky because of the penalty with Hamilton… [but] I must say that the team did a fantastic job and Pierre drove a good race.”

    EXCLUSIVE: Listen to Pierre Gasly's euphoric radio celebrations in full

    Tost went on to explain that a tactical choice by AlphaTauri to run Gasly with more downforce than some of his rivals had been the defining factor in the Frenchman’s victory.

    “Carlos was a little bit faster in Sector 1 because he had less wing, but in Sector 2 we were better,” said Tost. “And if in Sector 2 you cannot come close enough, then you also can’t [attack into] the Parabolica, and after the Parabolica, in the slipstream, [you can’t] do the overtake, and this was our advantage.

    READ MORE: ‘I was sideways in every corner’ – thrilled Gasly explains how he fended off Sainz to seal Monza win

    “We had a little bit more wing. We decided yesterday to go out with this additional flap, to [take] this risk, also regarding the tyre degradation – and it worked!”

    Gasly’s win marks a remarkable turnaround in the fortunes of the Frenchman in the past 13 months, with Gasly having been dropped by Red Bull only to thrive on his return to Toro Rosso, scoring a maiden podium at the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix before following it up with his first victory for the re-branded AlphaTauri squad at Monza.

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    Gasly brilliantly managed the gap to Sainz

    But despite Alex Albon, the driver who replaced Gasly at Red Bull, struggling to P15 in the Italian Grand Prix, as Gasly put the icing on the cake of what had been a strong 2020 campaign anyway with his victory, Tost was quick to dampen any talk about the two drivers being swapped around once again…

    “If we lose him [to Red Bull], that means the team did a good job, because otherwise they wouldn’t take him,” said Tost. “But currently, I’m quite optimistic that he will stay with us.

    READ MORE: Italian GP Facts & Stats – First podium since 2012 with no Mercedes, Ferrari or Red Bull

    “He is very motivated,” Tost added. “He was already last year when he came back from Red Bull. He came in my office and we greeted each other and he said, ‘I feel like I was here yesterday, it’s my family.’ He liked the car he had already last year, quite a competitive car, and then from Spa onwards he improved his performance. And then in Sao Paulo, he finished second.

    “Today, he drove a really brilliant race, because he was in the lead, and he controlled it. When Carlos came a little bit closer, then he improved his speed in Sector 2, got 1.2 to 1.5 seconds [gap] and this was good. He controlled the gap to the end and this was really good.”