“It’s been my best year in F1 by far,” says Gasly. “And I’m just really happy with what we have achieved so far with the team. In terms of qualifying performance it’s been unbelievable to really nail every single qualifying through the year, fighting with teams like Ferrari and McLaren, who are on a much bigger budget than we have, with a lot more resources.
“But still as a team we just focused on ourselves, even if we were not in the team championship battle with them, still gave them a hard time all year long in quali, and also the results we achieved in the races. We’re having the most points in a year in the season than the team has ever has ever done in the past.
“Same for myself, I think I’m only three points away from my best season in terms of points in F1 [when he started 2019 with Red Bull].
“I think it’s been really enjoyable to work with these guys, and also to see the performance the car has been able to give me, because I was able to show show my potential fully, pretty much every weekend, and that’s always most satisfying as a driver.”
Gasly may have fallen out of favour with Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner, but his current team boss Franz Tost rates him highly.
“I always say he belongs for me to the absolute top drivers in F1,” says Tost. “And he made real big progress in the last years, and he’s still learning a lot. And he’s getting better and better.
“He’s setting up the car in a way he likes to drive it, and which fits to him, to his driving style. And the engineers do a fantastic job with him. And therefore this is the result.”
Gasly has been in F1 for four-and-a-half years. Four of them have been spent with Toro Rosso/AlphaTauri.
The team was always meant to be a training ground for young talent, so that sort of continuity has been rare in the Faenza camp over the years. It’s clear that the familiarity between team and driver is benefiting both sides.
“Pierre is driving fantastically well,” says technical director Jody Egginton. “He’s very consistent, he knows what he wants in the car. And he’s just getting better and better, and he’s got a really solid approach. He’s working really hard, I have to say.
“He knows the car, he knows the team, and he’s pushing himself. I think it’s natural that drivers build up an ability to look at the bigger picture, because they get familiar with certain things, and it means it needs less brain space.
“And he’s doing that. We have high confidence in him, and he’s got a high level of confidence in the guys.”