Pierre Gasly says he “struggled to realise” the magnitude of his achievement as he claimed a maiden Formula 1 victory at the Italian Grand Prix.
The Frenchman held off a late challenge from Carlos Sainz to secure the Monza win for AlphaTauri, as the usual front-runners ran into trouble during the race.
Gasly was put into a good position after he pitted before the safety car was deployed following an on-track stoppage for Kevin Magnussen.
After a red-flag period following a crash for Charles Leclerc, he took over the lead after Lewis Hamilton was forced to serve a 10-second stop/go penalty for a pit lane infringement, and stayed in front despite coming under pressure from Sainz during the last 20 laps.
“Honestly, it’s unbelievable, I’m not realizing what’s happening right now,” Gasly said. “It was such a crazy race, and then we capitalised on the red flag.
“The car was fast but we had a pretty fast car behind us.
“I’ve been through so much in my 18 months in Formula 1, my first podium in Formula 1 last year I was already feeling ‘wow’, with AlphaTauri and now my first win in Formula 1, in Monza, I struggle to realise.
“I’ve got no words. I have no words. This team has done so much for me, they gave me my first opportunity in Formula 1, they gave me my first podium, now they are giving me my first win, it’s crazy, it’s just crazy.
“I can’t thank them enough, everybody, from AlphaTauri, to Honda. I mean, this is a power sensitive track and we won the race in front of all the Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault cars.”
With his victory, Gasly becomes the first French race winner since Oliver Panis in 1996. Prior to the race start, Gasly’s odds of winning were 60/1 according to onlinecasinosnoop.com.
“I’ve always said, coming into F1, ‘OK, that’s one thing we need to change’ because it has been so long. But I never expected it would happen to us with AlphaTauri.
“We just kept focusing on ourselves, last year learning, improving step by step. It’s crazy, actually, I’m just so happy.”