Pierre Gasly was left “struggling to realise” his shock maiden Formula 1 victory at the Italian Grand Prix, becoming the first French winner in 24 years.
Gasly was among those to benefit from a red-flag stoppage that elevated him up to third place by the race restart behind only Lewis Hamilton and Lance Stroll.
From a standing restart, Gasly leapfrogged Stroll before inheriting first place when Hamilton pitted to serve a stop/go penalty for entering the pitlane when it was closed.
Despite late pressure from McLaren’s Carlos Sainz, Gasly held on by just 0.4 seconds to claim AlphaTauri’s first win since Monza 2008 under its previous guise Toro Rosso.
“It’s unbelievable,” Gasly said.
“It was such a crazy race. We capitalised on the red flag. The car was fast out there, we had a pretty fast car behind us.
“I’ve been through so much in the space of 18 months. My first podium last year, I was already like wow with AlphaTauri, and now my first win in Monza. I’m struggling to realise [it].”
Following his podium in Brazil last year, the result marked Gasly’s second top-three finish, 12 months on from being dropped by Red Bull mid-season.
Having been handed his grand prix debut by Toro Rosso back in 2017, Gasly took the time to pay tribute to the team.
“I have no words,” Gasly said.
“This team have done so much for me. They gave me my first opportunity in F1, they gave me my first podium. Now they are giving me my first win.
“It’s crazy, honestly. It’s just crazy. I’m so happy. I can’t thank them enough, everybody from AlphaTauri to Honda.
“It’s a power sensitive track and we won the race out of all the Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault cars, so just an amazing day.”
Gasly’s victory also ended France’s 24-wait for a grand prix win, with Oliver Panis the last French driver in Monaco 1996 to stand on the top step of the podium.
“I’ve always said coming in F1 that’s one thing we need to change, because it’s been so long,” Gasly said.
“I never expected that it would happen to us with AlphaTauri. We just kept focusing on ourselves since last year, working improving step by step.
“It’s crazy, honestly. I’m just so happy.”