Red Bull team boss Christian Horner called Max Verstappen’s Brazilian Grand Prix win ‘redemption’ -- after the Dutchman collided with Esteban Ocon while leading last year’s race.

It was redemption too, for second place man Pierre Gasly. Looking ahead to this season in the Red Bull senior team, Gasly was eager for the opportunity.

SOUNDBITE (English): PIERRE GASLY                                                                                                                             TORO ROSSO F1 DRIVER                                                                                                                                                      “It’s been always my dream to be driving for Red Bull since I joined the Red Bull junior team in 2013.”

He was also looking forward to going head-to-head with former karting rival, Verstappen.

SOUNDBITE (English): PIERRE GASLY                                                                                                                             TORO ROSSO F1 DRIVER                                                                                                                                                       “At the end of the day my target in F1 is to be world champion. And to be world champion you need to beat the best drivers on the grid. To be fair, at the moment I think he is probably the most talented guy out there. To race in the same team as him, for me, is an amazing opportunity.” 

The reality was somewhat different. Gasly’s dream turned into a nightmare. His average qualifying deficit to Verstappen over the first dozen races was the largest between team mates on the grid. After F1’s summer break, Red Bull demoted Gasly back to its junior team, Toro Rosso.

Until Brazil, Gasly’s stand-out F1 career moment came at Sakhir in 2018:

SOUNDITE (English) PIERRE GASLY                                                                                                                                 TORO ROSSO F1 DRIVER                                                                                                                                             “Bahrain was one of the biggest highlights with the 4th position, something we never expected.”

But Interlagos supplanted that. Gasly started sixth and his second place was Toro Rosso’s best result since Sebastian Vettel won from pole position at a wet Monza 11 years ago.

“Oh my God!” shrieked an emotional Gasly as he took the chequered flag. “This is the best day of my life!”

He goes to the Abu Dhabi season finale sixth in the drivers’ championship, both he and Carlos Sainz on 95 points. His senior team replacement, Alex Albon is 11 points adrift after a collision with Lewis Hamilton in Brazil robbed him of his first F1 podium.