Monza (Italy) (AFP)

"Winning at Monza couldn't be better: AlphaTauri is an Italian team", underlined Pierre Gasly after his first victory in F1 - the first also for a French driver since 1996 - in the "temple of speed "from Monza, with the nose and beard of Mercedes and Red Bull.

Still called Toro Rosso until last year, AlphaTauri is the "little sister" of Red Bull with which it shares the Honda engine manufacturer.

Gasly was thanked little ceremoniously last year, in the middle of the season, by officials of Red Bull, who considered his performance insufficient.

"Winning my first victory a few months after being on the podium (in Brazil at the end of 2019, editor's note), it's fantastic," said the young Frenchman at a press conference who, at 24, is playing his third F1 season.

"You never know how long you can enjoy such moments," said Gasly, particularly affected by the death of his friend Anthoine Hubert last year at Spa, in a Formula 2 race.

"I would have liked that all the tifosis could be in the stands because it is one of the best places to get on the podium," he regretted, however.

All of the 2020 Grand Prix were contested behind closed doors due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Gasly won thanks to a pit stop to change tires at the best time and thanks to an interruption in the race after a spectacular accident for Monegasque Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) who escaped unscathed.

Lewis Hamilton, who has dominated F1 for several years, tried to take advantage of another racing incident to change tires as well, but did not see that the pit lane was off-limits.

The six-time world champion therefore suffered a ten-second penalty that he had to observe after the second start, which made him lose the lead in the race to the benefit of the French.

The latter then resisted the comeback of Carlos Sainz Jr. (McLaren) who finished in his wheels, four tenths of a second.

- "My tires were screwed" -

“I had no one in front of me so I knew I had to do the best possible times. But the last few laps were very difficult because my tires were screwed up. I was skidding in all the corners and I saw Carlos approaching. I would have been really pissed off if he had passed me, "he said.

Despite this victory in the taste of revenge, Gasly did not want to comment on a possible return to Red Bull after his performance.

"I'm happy to be able to show I'm fast. I've been working on myself, race after race since last year, to get stronger," he said.

AlphaTauri's only victory dates back to 2008, also at Monza, thanks to Sebastian Vettel, when the team was called Toro Rosso.

It was also the first victory for the German who was then promoted to Red Bull where he won four world titles (2010-2013).

Asked if he was ready for a return to Red Bull, Gasly remained very diplomatic: “I think I'm ready, but that's not my decision to make. Since I returned at AlphaTauri, I focused on myself and showed what I am capable of when I have the right tools in my hands ".

"We will see what will happen, but I am happy to be one of the two drivers (with Vettel) who won for Toro Rosso," he said modestly.

© 2020 AFP