Pierre Gasly thought that Dr Helmut Marko was "taking the piss" when he called to tell him the news regarding Daniel Ricciardo's Red Bull exit. The energy drink team announced at the start of August that the Australian would be leaving the outfit after five years.
Soon after, Gasly was confirmed as his replacement at the senior team, despite being in just his first full season of Formula 1. The Frenchman revealed that he received the news via a call from Marko, the head off Red Bull junior development. And Gasly admitted that he didn't quite believe the news at first.
"Honestly, I didn’t believe it in the beginning. I thought it was a joke from Helmut, I thought he was taking the piss or something," he told Crash.net. "Then I understood, no, he’s serious, Daniel is leaving. The first thing I thought is there is an available seat there, so just try to stay calm.
"I didn’t send anything. Helmut called me to tell me the news about Daniel. I just let things happen, and I was waiting for the call, and in the end, it was positive news for the second call. [Marko] told me: ‘Just enjoy your break, I’m going to call you back to tell you our decision’, and when he called me back, it was to tell me I was joining the team for next year."
Gasly has enjoyed success in the junior categories, including a championship win in GP2 back in 2016. The 22-year-old made his F1 race debut at last year's Malaysian Grand Prix, towards the end of the season. Despite waiting longer than he would have liked, Gasly was confident he would make it to the sport if he kept believing in himself.
"I think in this sport it’s all about being in the right place at the right time. After GP2, I was in the right place at the wrong time, but I always believed if I kept pushing and kept focusing on myself, trying to improve myself and trying to do the right things, at some point, things will come my way," Gasly said.
"After GP2, people asked me: ‘Did you at some point believe you will not come to F1?’ I always believed that with the results I had, with what I’m doing, doing everything I can to get there, at some point it will come to me.
What’s happened basically is many things happening at the same time, with Daniel leaving and all the things happening to me, but there was still a decision to made between Carlos [Sainz] and myself. I will say in that period of time, things came my way, but I believed if I kept pushing and kept doing the right things, things would come my way."
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