Ricciardo explains why Gasly is F1's most underrated driver

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Daniel Ricciardo has picked Pierre Gasly as Formula 1's most underrated driver.

The Frenchman was chosen to be Ricciardo's successor at Red Bull in 2019, but his stay at the Milton Keynes-based outfit would only last 12 races as he struggled alongside Max Verstappen.

However, after returning to Toro Rosso, which later became AlphaTauri, Gasly demonstrated the potential that earned him the Red Bull chance in the first place.

And it is that which Ricciardo focused on in his praise of the 26-year-old.

“Personally, I like Pierre Gasly,” he told the Daily Express when asked to name his most underrated driver.

“For the record, he’s not the only driver I like. I like him as a person, but also what he’s demonstrated, and he’s not the only one.

“Getting to the top of Red Bull, he got a really big opportunity with them and it was fairly short-lived.

“He got to the top, but as quickly as he got there, he got knocked back down. Now, he’s showing really good character traits, really good resilience because he’s still fighting.

“Through all of that, he actually managed to win a race in 2020. He had a few podiums, so I think when everyone wrote him off, he came back even stronger.

“I’m happy for him as a human because I do like him, but as a competitor, I respect that. Getting to the top is difficult, and staying there is even harder.

“He went through a pretty big rollercoaster in 12 months, and I just know that he really fought back well from getting written off.”

After a tricky 2022 in an underperforming car, Gasly has now broken free of the Red Bull stable and starts a new chapter at Alpine in 2023.

In doing so, he teams up with childhood friend Esteban Ocon, although their relationship in recent years has been more frosty.

Even so, Pierre has no concerns that will impact their partnership at Alpine.

“I think it’s more than talking about the relationship,” he said. “It’s talking about the odds of us being teammates when we were six years old and racing in karting on a small track next to our hometown.

“Under the snow, nobody turned up and we were the only ones that turned up doing free laps, getting on the track, trying to warm us up.

“At that time it was only a dream to get to F1 and we knew even the chance for one of us to make it there was pretty much impossible.

“But to be now racing in the same team in F1 for a French manufacturer is just an incredible story.

“We have had our ups and downs in our relationship, but I believe this is also an opportunity for us to clear a bit what’s happened in the past and I’m definitely not worried.

“We are mature enough and intelligent enough to know what is best for us, and mainly most important for the team.”

Also Read:

And in that spirit, Gasly says continuing Alpine's progress in closing the gap to the front is the main priority.

“At the end of the day, we all have the common target to be fighting at the front, we all want podiums, we all want to win, and we know for that we’ve got to work together for the team and push the team forward,” he added.

“That’s why I’m not naturally concerned about it because it’s for our own good to work together. We both know it very well and we are both smart enough and mature enough now to know that.”