Alpine’s Pierre Gasly said he knew about Lewis Hamilton’s talks with Ferrari and the announcement of the Briton’s move from Mercedes to the Italian Formula 1 team for 2025 was not a surprise to him.
Speaking to reporters at the launch of the Renault-owned team’s 2024 car on Wednesday, Frenchman Gasly said it had been a well-kept secret. The move was announced last Thursday.
“I was aware of some talks with Ferrari. Ultimately he (Hamilton) is towards the end of his career, so it was either now or never,” said Gasly, who celebrated his 28th birthday on Wednesday. “I think it was kept secret for quite a long time. I wish him the best.”
Hamilton, 39, will replace Spaniard Carlos Sainz alongside Charles Leclerc at Ferrari. Gasly and Leclerc are old friends and the pair are online gamers with Hamilton.
In 2020, the Frenchman revealed in an ESPN podcast that he regularly exchanged messages and questions with Hamilton, seeking the Briton’s advice.
F1 not about fair or not fair
“What’s fair in F1?,” he replied on Wednesday when asked if the situation had been fair to Sainz. “Carlos is a great driver, Lewis is a fantastic driver, the best of all time,” Gasly said.
“There was an opportunity on both sides. I think Ferrari and Lewis took it together. It leaves Carlos in a more tricky situation and it’s not easy,” he reckoned.
A winner with Toro Rosso at Monza in 2020, Gasly finished third last season at the Dutch Grand Prix for his first podium with Alpine. The new car has yet to run but Alpine described it as bold and aggressive.
Gasly, who joined the team last year in what he admitted was a disappointing season, said it might be a bit harder in the opening races but there would be plenty of potential to unlock later in the year.
“You got to take risks at some point if you want to get bigger rewards. So that’s the strategy we decided to go for,” he added.
Gasly said he now felt in the best shape he’d ever been and a “completely different place” compared to last year, knew everyone in the team and the way of working, he said: “I’m feeling a lot better than a year ago.”
Alpine finished sixth overall last season, a drop from fourth in 2022. The season starts in Bahrain on March 2. (Reporting by Alan Baldwin)