Pierre Gasly, who shares a close bond with Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc and maintains regular contact with Hamilton, revealed that the seismic Formula 1 announcement of the seven-time champion’s move to Maranello didn’t entirely take him aback.
Speaking during the unveiling of Alpine’s 2024 car at its Enstone facility on Tuesday, Gasly disclosed that he had sensed rumblings for quite some time.
“Obviously, he’s had a lengthy stint with Mercedes, but I had an inkling there were discussions with Ferrari,” Gasly remarked.
“Ultimately, he’s nearing the twilight of his career. So, it was a case of now or never.
“I believe it was kept under wraps for quite some time. I simply wish him the best. It’s certainly intriguing with the driver market, and all the associated buzz, which is par for the course.
“But fundamentally, for the sport, having the most successful driver of all time embark on a new project, a fresh challenge, is significant. I’m sure everyone will be closely monitoring that.”
Gasly conceded that Hamilton’s signing wasn’t positive news for Carlos Sainz, but he understood Ferrari’s decision.
When asked if the situation was equitable for Sainz, Gasly remarked: “What’s fair in F1, to begin with? I think Carlos is an exceptional driver. Lewis is an outstanding driver, the best of all time. So, from that perspective, I think there was an opportunity on both ends.
“I believe Ferrari and Lewis seized it together. Naturally, it leaves Carlos in a tougher spot. It’s not straightforward.”
Hamilton’s move to Ferrari has created an opening for a prime Mercedes seat in 2025, with the German outfit showing no haste in determining its occupant.
Gasly acknowledged the potential for considerable movement in the driver market this year but emphasised the importance of staying focused on delivering optimal performances on the track.
“The approach going into every single weekend remains consistent,” he asserted. “Whether there are seats up for grabs or not doesn’t really matter.
“You need to race intelligently. You need to be assertive, as you always are. But being aware of what opportunities exist and maximising them, that doesn’t really alter.”
He concluded: “My objective in F1 has always been clear. I aim to contend at the front.
That’s why I joined Alpine a year and a half ago – because I want to be in the mix for top positions.
“So, it hasn’t altered my approach to Formula 1. I’ve just turned 28. Essentially, I’m at my peak. I know I have some fruitful years ahead, so nothing has changed on my end.”