Not so long ago, Pierre Gasly's long-term future in the Red Bull programme appeared to be in doubt. After a frustrating first season in GP2 in 2015, he had no obvious and immediate opportunities to move up to Formula 1 thanks to a logjam of talented drivers in the company's ranks - and the sudden arrival on the scene of a very talented Dutchman had closed one door on him.
"Max [Verstappen] came a bit from nowhere and took all the seats!" says Gasly with a smile. "For me at the time [F1] was a possibility, but after there were no opportunities with Max coming."
There was no option but to stick with Red Bull, knuckle down and prove himself all over again - which he did, making him a prime candidate when a position came up sooner than expected. Having won the 2016 GP2 title, and shone during his time 'on hold' in the Japanese Super Formula series last year, Gasly's star was on the ascent just as Red Bull's junior team found itself in need of drivers at short notice.