Italian Grand Prix race winner Pierre Gasly says he was braced for Mercedes’ drivers to prise the lead from his hands, prior to his shock victory.
Lewis Hamilton cruised into a 10-second advantage prior to the Safety Car period for Kevin Magnussen’s stoppage and looked set to dominate proceedings.
But Hamilton copped a 10-second stop/go penalty for entering the pit lane when it was closed, which he had to serve after the standing restart.
Hamilton led away once more but ducked into the pits at the end of the lap, emerging in 17th, 30 seconds behind Gasly, who found himself up front.
Gasly says he expected Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas – who was running in the points at the restart – to pick their way through the pack.
“I was just not focused on Lewis [at the restart] because he was just going to pit and come back through the field and finish 20 seconds ahead of us,” said Gasly.
“I was like ‘let’s do our own race, focus on the guys around’.
“I think for us it was a tricky call between the Hard tyre and the Medium tyre at the time because we didn’t know if it was a rolling start or a standing start.
“We opted for the Medium, which was better for the race start and yeah, he boxed on lap one and to be fair, I expected him to come back through the field and the same with Valtteri.
“I thought these two guys would just coming flying past us but it wasn’t the case.
“The team knew, apparently, that it wasn’t going to be that easy for them to catch us and apparently it was the case.”
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