Pierre Gasly feels ready for a potential return to Red Bull after his victory in the Italian Grand Prix, and believes that his strong results should be rewarded.
The Frenchman took a shock win at Monza on Sunday, holding off Carlos Sainz in what was effectively a sprint race that featured a standing start after a red flag period. Gasly has now scored a podium and a win in his last 10 starts for AlphaTauri – stretching back to its former name of Toro Rosso – and believes he will be better prepared should Red Bull give him a second chance after a difficult 12 races for the team in 2019.
“I think I’m ready, but it’s not up to me to make that call,” Gasly said. “The only thing I’ve done since they moved me back to Toro Rosso has been just to focus on myself and just show what I can do.
“When I get the right tools in my hand, I’m really happy that the performance we’ve shown. Generally, we’ve been pretty strong most of the time. We’ve had some really strong qualifying [sessions], really strong races.
“We’ll see what happens, but there have been many, many strong drivers in Toro Rosso. I’m really happy to be one of the two that have managed to get a win for this team. Obviously I guess the strong results should be rewarded with something, but we will see what happens.”
Gasly said he has had to show his mental strength over the past 12 months after having been dropped from Red Bull and then lost his close friend Anthoine Hubert in a Formula 2 crash at Spa-Francorchamps.
“That was a tough moment last year,” he said. “I grew up with four brothers and as a child, I had to work through quite difficult moments, which built me a pretty strong character and I always had to fight for everything I wanted.
“I always, in some way, managed to turn that negative energy into something positive. Obviously I felt hurt and I didn’t feel it was fair to myself and I really wanted to make a clear point in that moment … but I know I’m fast, I know what I can do – I’ve been fighting for victories, for pole, championships in my early years, in my career and that’s what I want in F1.
“I really worked very hard with the team, and I knew that with them I had everything in my hands to show my potential. After, I just tried to focus on my own performance, not really looking at the others, taking race after race, looking at what I can improve on my side – what I can improve with the team, with my engineers, just to extract more from myself and more from that package and combination.
“Honestly, I can’t be happier with the team I have at the moment. They are doing an amazing job; they are giving me everything I need to be competitive every single weekend. Sometimes we are fast enough for the top eight, sometimes for top 10, sometimes top 12, but at the end of the day, they really give all their energy for my own performance, which I really appreciate and I’m really thankful for, because thanks to that, it gave us my first race win in Formula 1.”