Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly has revealed that he came in for social media criticism in the wake of a wry radio message at the conclusion of the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Gasly crossed the line in fourth position in Bahrain to achieve his best result in Formula 1, and Honda’s best since its return in 2015, commenting “now we can fight” as he secured the place.
The words were the exact same as those used by Fernando Alonso on the cool-down lap in Australia, after securing fifth upon McLaren’s first race with Renault, after three dismal years with Honda.
Gasly’s mimicking of Alonso’s comments was quickly identified and he explained in China that it was a “little joke” intended to give praise to Honda, which joined Toro Rosso after its split from McLaren.
“For me it was simple, was just a little joke, that’s it,” said Gasly.
“I think we need to give credit back to Honda you know, in the end they had a tough three years with McLaren and to finish P4 in the second race was just amazing.
“It was a way to give them back credit because they are working really hard and I think they need praise for the hard work they are doing.”
Gasly emphasised that his radio message was not intended as an insult to Alonso.
“Don’t get me wrong, I had pretty tough messages after that by some Spanish people, [it] was actually quite crazy.
“I have huge respect for Fernando, just to make it clear, Fernando is for sure one of the best drivers of all time in Formula 1 and one of the drivers I looked at when I was young, [he was] one of my idols.
“It was nothing related [personally], just a comment for Honda as I think they deserve the credit."