One yr on from the loss of life of Anthoine Hubert at Spa-Francorchamps, Method One drivers Pierre Gasly and Charles Leclerc have paid tribute to their pal forward of this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix.
On Thursday, Gasly was amongst members of the F1 paddock who laid flowers on the nook the place Hubert suffered deadly accidents within the Method Two race final yr.
Each Gasly and Leclerc have been shut mates of Hubert’s and raced towards him in junior classes. Gasly, who drives for Alpha Tauri in F1, stated it was not simple returning to the scene of Hubert’s accident this yr.
“As quickly as I put one foot within the paddock, I simply have these photographs that come again in my thoughts, and issues I do not wish to settle for or I battle to simply accept,” Gasly stated. “Even through the monitor stroll, I used to be pondering … I simply battle to understand it actually occurred and sadly that is simply the reality, the fact.
“It hasn’t been simple.”
Gasly first raced towards Hubert when he was 9, and the 2 drivers have been roommates throughout their junior profession.
“He was one of many guys I spent most of my time with throughout my childhood, and we have been rivals however, on the similar time, I truly know that I might have by no means achieved what I did with out rising with him,” Gasly stated. “We have been pushing one another a lot, whether or not it was on monitor or off the monitor, that it simply made me a greater athlete, made me a greater driver, and [this competition] at all times pushed myself to ship extra, discover extra inside myself.
“It has been a part of my self-development as an individual and as a driver. And I can solely be glad about that. He’s somebody we discuss actually typically with my mates, as a result of we had plenty of widespread mates, and, as I say, like through the monitor stroll, I simply have these photographs and photographs in thoughts that I want would have by no means occurred. Sadly, that is simply the hazard of our sport and yeah, I imply, you recognize… it is simply arduous to simply accept.
Pierre Gasly will race with a helmet paying tribute to Anthoine Hubert this weekend. Peter Fox/Getty Photos
“Doing this particular helmet and dropping these flowers and pondering I used to be with him. Once more, after [the race in] Budapest final yr, I had Sunday dinner with him, and we shared a pleasant second along with his girlfriend and one other pal, on Sunday evening after Budapest, and this was the final time I noticed him.
“He was one of many first ones to ship me a textual content when Crimson Bull determined to place me again in Toro Rosso. For me it’s simply very arduous to simply accept he isn’t with us anymore.”
Leclerc, who races for Ferrari, gained the Method One race the day after Hubert’s loss of life and devoted the victory to his pal.
“Final yr was very troublesome on the Saturday evening, clearly we’ve all realized about Anthoine passing away, and on the Sunday I keep in mind talking with Pierre,” he stated. “We have been all good mates, with additionally Esteban [Ocon], and Anthoine, all of us grew up collectively.
“Pierre instructed me it’s essential to win for Anthoine Sunday, and I clearly needed to try this too. I managed to do it, which was very particular, and in addition very troublesome, as it’s the first time I skilled driving across the similar monitor the place you lose an in depth one, or a driver, in the identical monitor, so it was very troublesome.
“Coming again right here would not change that. For positive it’s troublesome, and will probably be troublesome tomorrow, having that in thoughts, however that does not change my goal for the weekend, which is to do one of the best I can within the automotive.”