Lewis Hamilton believes Red Bull did not treat Pierre Gasly fairly last year and will be hurting as a result of the Frenchman’s victory in the Italian Grand Prix.
Gasly won an incredible race at Monza that saw Hamilton hit with a 10-second stop-and-go penalty for pitting when the pit entry was closed, allowing the AlphaTauri driver to lead every lap following a red flag period. Gasly — who was dropped by Red Bull after just 12 races last year — showed impressive resolve to hold off the closing Carlos Sainz in the final laps, and Hamilton had words of praise for the 24-year-old while also criticizing Red Bull’s handling of the situation.
“Firstly, Pierre is just a really nice guy, and I think he has a lot of talent,” Hamilton said. “And I don’t think he was necessarily treated fairly at Red Bull in the end when he got promoted, and I think it’s not easy for a driver when that happens, so I empathize with that.
“I think to then build the confidence up in not necessarily as quick a team, and build the confidence up, and to come around with some really great performances he’s had this year already, and then to get himself a win, I think it’s not easy to do that. Really impressed. I think he’s done a fantastic job, and deserves the success and hopefully that creates an opportunity for him moving forwards. Also, he beat the team that demoted him. That’s definitely got to hurt for them.”
Hamilton and Gasly have been gaming online together regularly over the past year and despite seeing his own win chances slip away through an error when he didn’t see trackside boards indicated the pits were closed, the championship leader says he was delighted Gasly took victory instead.
“That’s a fantastic result for him. I’ve obviously seen what he’s been through, from being dropped from the top team and now he’s beaten the top team. I think it’s just fantastic to see him recover and see him grow, so I am genuinely really happy for him.
“We didn’t do a great job necessarily with the pit stop and honestly I didn’t see those boards, so it’s something I’ll take responsibility for and learn from. But to get seventh and get the fastest lap is still some good points considering I definitely didn’t think that was possible from 26 seconds behind the last car. So I’ll take it and grateful obviously Max (Verstappen) didn’t score any points, so not a huge loss.”