Dec.21 (GMM) Pierre Gasly says he is “not afraid” of life with a top team, nor of having the feisty Max Verstappen as his teammate.
The Frenchman has been promoted from the junior team Toro Rosso to replace departed Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo.
Gasly and Verstappen, who are both in their early 20s, already know each other after they were young rivals in elite karting.
“I remember I was on pole for all four heats, but we finished two of the four together in the grass,” Gasly told the Dutch publication Formule 1 as he recalled one particular race meeting in Italy.
“Max was already very aggressive back then. We respected each other and drove hard races, but we did not have a close relationship,” he revealed.
But he said he eventually become friends with Verstappen “even though we walked different paths” to the top of F1.
It means Gasly is a year older than Verstappen, but it is the younger Dutchman with the established reputation and grands prix wins under his belt.
Asked whether he feels that pressure, Gasly answered: “I have always had pressure.
“That’s why I’m not afraid of it at Red Bull next year, because I’m used to it. I’m looking forward to the duel with Max.”