"I'm not the other driver at Red Bull," says Pierre Gasly
Gasly, while outperforming Brendon Hartley in 2018, was also very hesitant and even adamant in not following team orders from the team's race engineers.
At the 2018 Brazilian Grand Prix, when he was asked to make way for Hartley, he radioed back - "He can overtake me if he’s faster than me".
Gasly knows that he is going into Max's territory now, with team bosses Christian Horner and Helmut Marko openly saying that they want to build the Red Bull side around the Dutchman.
Additionally, Gasly has just a season under his belt while Verstappen is into his fifth Formula 1 campaign. Both have known and raced each other since their karting days. He opened up in an interview to Motorsport-Total
“Being one of the best drivers right now will be a great challenge for me. It will take some time for me to be competitive, but I am not here to be the number two driver, that’s not what I want or what I’m happy with. These things take some time, and Max is one of the fastest guys in the paddock, which is super exciting for me, because it brings you to a higher level."
Red Bull has played no favourites since Daniel Ricciardo and Verstappen were paired from the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix, but this season might be different to start off with initially at the least.
If Gasly is quick right-away, he will find equal treatment and the Frenchman is backing on it establish himself as a top 5 driver.
“If I have a car I can win with, I would like to. But if I have a car that is only good enough for the top five, that will be the goal.”
Of course, it depends on how the new 2019 regulations play out and which constructor makes the most of the new tweaks in regulations. Gasly's hopes are mounted on the Honda engine as are Verstappen's.