Gasly: Loss of long-time roommate Hubert hard to comprehend
Red Bull Formula 1 driver Pierre Gasly says he's struggling to come to terms with the sudden death of Formula 2 racer Anthoine Hubert, who had been his friend and roommate for many years.
Hubert passed away aged 22 during the Belgian Grand Prix weekend, after a crash in the F2 support race on Saturday.
While Gasly had been a few steps ahead of Hubert on the single-seater ladder all throughout his junior career, the two had been part of the French motorsport federation FFSA’s junior programme – and speaking after the Belgian GP, Gasly described Hubert as one of his closest friends.
“I think was for sure the most emotional pre-race I've ever had. Because you're not ready at 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 since 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.”
“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 the Frenchman 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’.”
Additional reporting by Filip Cleeren and Scott Mitchell
Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso STR14
Photo by: Zak Mauger / LAT Images
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