Pierre Gasly thought Red Bull Formula 1 advisor Helmut Marko was "taking the piss" when he called to reveal that Daniel Ricciardo had decided to leave the team for 2019, paving the way for the Frenchman's own move up to Red Bull.

Ricciardo shocked the F1 paddock in the first week of August by deciding to leave Red Bull after five years with its senior F1 team in favour of a move to Renault for 2019.

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Ricciardo had widely been expected to extend his Red Bull contract, with his decision causing a chain reaction in the driver market that resulted in Gasly being named as his replacement for 2019.

Gasly was informed of Ricciardo's exit by Marko, but admitted he did not initially believe what he was being told.

"Honestly, I didn’t believe it in the beginning. I thought it was a joke from Helmut, I thought he was taking the piss or something," Gasly said when asked by Crash.net about his reaction to Ricciardo's decision.

"Then I understood, no, he’s serious, Daniel is leaving. The first thing I thought is there is an available seat there, so just try to stay calm.

"I didn’t send anything. Helmut called me to tell me the news about Daniel. I just let things happen, and I was waiting for the call, and in the end, it was positive news for the second call.

"[Marko] told me: ‘Just enjoy your break, I’m going to call you back to tell you our decision’, and when he called me back, it was to tell me I was joining the team for next year."

Gasly's surprise move up to Red Bull for 2019 comes following a junior career under the energy drink giant's umbrella that saw him make a number of sideways moves before getting the chance to race in F1 from last year's Malaysian Grand Prix.

"I think in this sport it’s all about being in the right place at the right time. After GP2, I was in the right place at the wrong time, but I always believed if I kept pushing and kept focusing on myself, trying to improve myself and trying to do the right things, at some point, things will come my way," Gasly said.

"After GP2, people asked me: ‘Did you at some point believe you will not come to F1?’ I always believed that with the results I had, with what I’m doing, doing everything I can to get there, at some point it will come to me.

"What’s happened basically is many things happening at the same time, with Daniel leaving and all the things happening to me, but there was still a decision to made between Carlos [Sainz Jr] and myself.

"I will say in that period of time, things came my way, but I believed if I kept pushing and kept doing the right things, things would come my way."

 

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