• Pierre Gasly won this past weekend's Italian Grand Prix.
• He became the first Frenchman to win a race since 1996.
• Alain Prost is the most successful French F1 driver.
• For more motoring stories, go to www.Wheels24.co.za
Pierre Gasly stunned friend and foe when he took victory at this past Sunday's Italian Grand Prix. Benefiting from Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes-AMG being penalised for illegally entering the pits, Gasly made the best of the race restart to secure victory just 0.4 seconds ahead of McLaren's Carlos Sainz Jr.
It was sweet redemption for Gasly who was unceremoniously dropped from the Red Bull Racing team midway through the 2019 season and demoted to Toro Rosso - the team who'd race as AlphaTauri from 2020 onwards.
Gasly joined Formula 1 in 2017, racing for Toro Rosso. He'd race for the team in 2018 as well, before being promoted to the top team for 2019. Since the demotion, Gasly has been on a personal journey of self-belief, and it all culminated in him standing on the top step of an F1 podium.
Interestingly, Gasly became the first French driver to win a race since Olivier Panis in 1996 - that's 24 years! Gasly joins a list of 13 French drivers to have won an F1 race, with the most notable and most famous being Alain Prost. Prost participated in F1 between 1980 and 1993, winning 51 races and taking the championship four times in his career.
After him, René Arnoux is the next most successful driver with seven wins. Arnoux competed in F1 between 1978 and 1989.
Can Gasly do it again?
A question many fans will ask is if Gasly can emulate his win again in 2020. Realistically speaking, no. Mercedes and Hamilton are running away with the championship, and their car is a proven race-winning machine. If the unexpected happens and everything gets turned upside down, as it did in Italy, then Gasly might have a chance at victory.
But the unexpected is a rare commodity in F1, and one can assume that the only realistic race winners are Hamilton, his team mate, Bottas, and Red Bull's Max Verstappen. Other than these drivers, no one has a chance of staking their claim.
We list all the F1 winners from French descent: Name, years participated, number of races won.
Alain Prost: 1980 - 1993, 51 wins, 4 championships
René Arnoux: 1978 - 1989, 7 wins
Jacques Laffite: 1974 - 1986, 6 wins
Didier Pironi: 1978 - 1982, 3 wins
Maurice Trintignant: 1950 - 1964, 2 wins
Patrick Depailler: 1972 - 1980, 2 wins
Jean-Pierre Jabouille: 1975 - 1981, 2 wins
Patrick Trambay: 1977 - 1986, 2 wins
Jean-Pierre Beltoise: 1967 - 1974, 1 win
Francois Cevert: 1970 - 1973, 1 win
Jean Alesi: 1989 - 2001, 1 win
Olivier Panis: 1994 - 2004, 1 win
Pierre Gasly: 2017 - , 1 win