Pierre Gasly reveals he asked Charles Leclerc to win the Belgian Grand Prix for Anthoine Hubert, the trio having all raced together as younger drivers.
Hubert was killed in a Formula 2 crash on Saturday at Spa-Francorchamps, leading to emotional tributes ahead of Sunday’s grand prix. Leclerc, Gasly, Hubert and Esteban Ocon had all raced together in their junior careers, and with Leclerc starting from pole position, Gasly asked the Ferrari driver to secure victory for their former rival, which he duly did.
“You have to (put it out of your mind) because otherwise you can’t race,” Gasly said. “Once you put the helmet on and go for the formation lap you’re in a different zone and frame of mind, but straight after the checkered flag it was the thing that came into my mind. I’m happy to score these two points.
“I told Charles before the race, please win this race for Anthoine, as we started racing in the same year, Charles, Anthoine and myself, and Anthoine won the French Cup in 2005. We raced for so many years and knew each other. Between Jules (Bianchi) a couple of years ago, and now Anthoine, it’s terrible for French motorsport. They were two amazing characters, and it’s difficult to realize.”
Gasly admitted he was struggling with his emotions before the race as a result of having lost a close friend with whom he had climbed the motorsport ranks.
“I think it was for sure the most emotional pre-race I ever had, because at 22 years old, 23 years old, to live this kind of moments… You lose one your best mates,” he said.
“I’ve grown up with these guys since I was seven in karting, we’ve been room-mates, we’ve lived in the same apartment, in the same room, for six years. We’ve been classmates, I’ve studied since I was 13 until 19 with him, with the same professor at a private school that the (French) federation did.
“I’m still shocked. I don’t realize how it can go so fast. It’s terrible. I’ve already planned to see all our friends we had in common with Anthoine tomorrow, as none of us really understand and realize what has happened yesterday.”