Bahrain Grand Prix – Pierre Gasly has revealed that he received a backlash from fans following his radio message at the end of the Bahrain Grand Prix.
The Toro Rosso-Honda driver secured fourth place in Sakhir, which marked Honda’s best result since their return to Formula One in 2015.
Following their turbulent three-year period with the McLaren team, Honda made the switch to Toro Rosso for 2018, leaving McLaren to sign a deal with Renault.
After securing fifth place in Australia – in the first race for the McLaren-Renault partnership – McLaren’s Fernando Alonso radioed to the team; “now we can fight”.
Gasly’s P4 result was achieved in only the second race of the Toro Rosso-Honda partnership and on the cool-down lap, the Frenchman relayed the same message to the team.
When asked about his post-race radio message, Gasly revealed that this duplication of Alonso’s message was picked up and criticised by some fans.
He defended his message by saying that he believed Honda deserved some credit for the Bahrain Grand Prix result.
“For me it was simple, it was just a little joke,” Gasly said.
“I think we need to give credit back to Honda. In the end, it was a really tough three years with McLaren and to finish P4 in just our second race with them is amazing so it was a way to give them back credit.
“They are working really hard and I think they need credit for the hard work they are doing.
“I’ve had some pretty tough messages after the race by some Spanish people, they were actually quite crazy.
Gasly further defended himself by adding that he had been a fan of Alonso whilst growing up.
“I have huge respect for Fernando so just to make it clear please don’t get me wrong. Fernando is one of the best drivers of all time in Formula 1 and one of the drivers I looked up to when I was young and he was one of my idols so I have a huge respect to him.
“It was nothing related to him it was a comment for Honda and I think they deserved the credit.”