In ENSTONE, England, Alpine driver Pierre Gasly expressed that the news of Lewis Hamilton switching from Mercedes to Ferrari for the 2025 Formula One season didn’t catch him off guard.
During a press event on Wednesday for the unveiling of the Renault-affiliated team’s vehicle for the 2024 season, the French driver mentioned he was already aware of Hamilton’s discussions with Ferrari.
Gasly shared with the media that the information had been tightly guarded until the official announcement was made last Thursday.
Gasly, who marked his 28th birthday on Wednesday, mentioned; “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,”
“I think it was kept secret for quite a long time. I wish him the best.”
At the age of 39, Hamilton is set to fill the position left by Spanish driver Carlos Sainz, joining Charles Leclerc at Ferrari. Gasly and Leclerc share a longstanding friendship and, together with Hamilton, are enthusiasts of online gaming.
During a 2020 appearance on an ESPN podcast, the French driver disclosed that he frequently communicated with Hamilton, sending messages and inquiries to seek guidance from the British racer.
He responded on Wednesday when questioned about the fairness of the situation regarding Sainz. “Carlos is a great driver, Lewis is a fantastic driver, the best of all time,” said Gasly.
“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.”
Securing a victory at Monza in 2020 with Toro Rosso, Gasly achieved his initial podium finish for Alpine last season by coming in third at the Dutch Grand Prix.
Although the new vehicle has not yet been tested on the track, Alpine has characterized it as daring and assertive.
Gasly, who became part of the team the previous year and acknowledged the season had not met expectations, mentioned that while the initial races might present challenges, there is significant potential to be tapped into as the year progresses.
He added, “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.”
Gasly expressed that he currently finds himself in the finest physical condition of his life, feeling like he’s in a “completely different place” compared to the previous year, now fully acquainted with every team member and their operational methods.
He added, “I’m feeling a lot better than a year ago,”
Alpine ended up in sixth place in the overall standings last season, experiencing a decline from their fourth-place finish in 2022.
The racing season is set to commence in Bahrain on March 2, according to REUTERS.