Pierre Gasly's anguish at loss of "best mate" Anthoine Hubert

Toro Rosso Formula 1 driver Pierre Gasly said it was hard to comprehend the sudden death of Formula 2 racer and close friend Anthoine Hubert before the Belgian Grand Prix

Pierre Gasly's anguish at loss of "best mate" Anthoine Hubert

Hubert died aged 22 after a crash during the F2 support race at Spa on Saturday.

While Gasly had been a few steps ahead of Hubert on the single-seater ladder all through his junior career, the two had been part of the French motorsport federation FFSA's junior programme - and speaking after the Belgian GP, 23-year-old Gasly described Hubert as one of his closest friends.

"I think it was for sure the most emotional pre-race I've ever had. Because you're not ready at 22, 23 years old, to live this kind of moment, to lose one of your best mates," Gasly said.

"I've grown up with this guy since I was seven in karting, we've been roommates, we've lived in the same apartment for six years.

"We've been classmates, I've studied from when I was 13 until 19 with him, with the same professor, [in the] private school that the federation did.

"I'm still shocked. I don't realise how it can go so fast. It's just terrible.

"I already plan to see all our friends who I had in common with Anthoine [on Monday] because none of us really understand and realise what happened, and it's just super sad."

The Belgian GP was won by Charles Leclerc, another of Hubert's friends, who had started the race from pole and dedicated the victory to the fallen racer.

"I told Charles before the race 'please win this race for Anthoine'," Gasly recalled. "Because we started racing in the same year, Charles, Anthoine and myself.

"And actually Anthoine won the French Cup [in karting] in 2005. And we just raced together for so many years and we all knew each other.

"Between Jules [Bianchi's passing] a couple of years ago, now Anthoine, I think it's really terrible news for French motorsport. They were two great, amazing characters."

The Spa-Francorchamps F1 race was Gasly's first since his demotion from Red Bull to Toro Rosso, and he ultimately scored two points for ninth place.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner acknowledged Hubert's passing "particularly" impacted Gasly, and said he spoke with his former driver before the race.

"They'd grown up together, they'd raced for many years together, their families know each other extremely well," Horner said. "I think it hit him very hard.

"So all I could do was try to offer some support and say that Anthoine was doing exactly what he wanted to do, and 'if he had the opportunity to be racing the Formula 1 car that you're in tomorrow, he would have grabbed that opportunity with both hands'."

Leclerc pays further tribute to Hubert

Leclerc dedicated his win to Hubert and drew comparisons with having to race in Baku in F2 in 2017 just days after his father Herve passed away, when he also won.

"I spoke with Pierre yesterday night, obviously we couldn't believe it, and we were all very shocked," said Leclerc.

"We all started together back in 2005, with Esteban [Ocon], Anthoine, Pierre.

"So we have grown up together through the ranks in karting, and then in single-seaters we all took different roads.

"There was quite a bit of emotions before the race, then once I got in the car, as I did for my father two years ago you needed to put all the emotions apart, and focus on the job, which is exactly what I did.

"Then you realise at the end of the race, and all the emotions come back once you cross the finish line.

"I was very happy to win and to remember him the way he deserves to be."

- Scott Mitchell

shares
comments
Alfa boss calls Verstappen's Belgian GP Raikkonen move "stupid"
Previous article

Alfa boss calls Verstappen's Belgian GP Raikkonen move "stupid"

Next article

Autosport F1 Podcast: Anthoine Hubert tribute and Belgian GP review

Autosport F1 Podcast: Anthoine Hubert tribute and Belgian GP review
Load comments
Why the lack of “needle” between Red Bull and Ferrari in F1 2022 is a mirage Plus

Why the lack of “needle” between Red Bull and Ferrari in F1 2022 is a mirage

OPINION: The fight for the 2022 Formula 1 world titles between Red Bull and Ferrari so far features little of the public animosity that developed between the former and Mercedes last year. But that isn’t to say things are full on friendly or won’t get much worse very quickly…

The underdog F1 squad that thrust Senna into the limelight Plus

The underdog F1 squad that thrust Senna into the limelight

The Toleman TG184 was the car that could, according to legend, have given Ayrton Senna his first F1 win but for Alain Prost and Jacky Ickx at Monaco in 1984. That could be stretching the boundaries of the truth a little, but as STUART CODLING explains, the team's greatest legacy was in giving the Brazilian prodigy passed over by bigger outfits an opportunity

Formula 1
May 16, 2022
Why Aston Martin is unlikely to repeat Jaguar’s F1 mistakes Plus

Why Aston Martin is unlikely to repeat Jaguar’s F1 mistakes

Two famous manufacturer teams born out of humble midfield origins, splashing the cash while attempting to rise to the top of F1 in record time. There are clear parallels between Lawrence Stroll’s Aston Martin and the doomed Jaguar Racing project of 22 years ago, but MARK GALLAGHER believes struggling Aston can avoid a similar fate

Formula 1
May 15, 2022
How rejuvenated Haas recovered its F1 mojo Plus

How rejuvenated Haas recovered its F1 mojo

US-owned but until recently Russian-backed, Haas seems to have reached a turning point in car performance after three gruesome seasons. And it needs to if it’s to attract fresh investment. Team boss Gunther Steiner tells OLEG KARPOV how close Haas came to the abyss

Formula 1
May 14, 2022
How F1 race leaders have now lost their comfort blanket Plus

How F1 race leaders have now lost their comfort blanket

As Formula 1 teams have settled down in understanding the new generation of cars and the way they need to maximise their performance, fresh lessons have emerged. Jonathan Noble investigates how they have brought with them an all-new kind of grand prix racing

Formula 1
May 12, 2022
Gilles Villeneuve's 10 greatest F1 drives Plus

Gilles Villeneuve's 10 greatest F1 drives

Formula 1 lost one of its brightest stars when Gilles Villeneuve was killed during practice for the 1982 Belgian Grand Prix. Forty years on, Autosport picks out the greatest drives by a Ferrari legend

Formula 1
May 11, 2022
The silver lining of Ferrari’s Miami GP defeat Plus

The silver lining of Ferrari’s Miami GP defeat

OPINION: Much was made of Formula 1’s first Miami Grand Prix – what turned out to be a very ‘marmite’ event for both those in attendance and everyone following on TV. But even as the on-track battle between Red Bull and Ferrari it produced continued the negative run of results for the red team, it contained a glimmer it must hope continues to shine

Formula 1
May 11, 2022
How imperfect Miami offered F1's drivers a unique challenge Plus

How imperfect Miami offered F1's drivers a unique challenge

OPINION: Despite all of the stylistic embellishments festooning Formula 1's inaugural Miami Grand Prix, the Miami International Autodrome offered the drivers a unique challenge and punished driver errors; a stark contrast to the usual cast of modern-day circuits

Formula 1
May 10, 2022