Gasly returned to AlphaTauri - who he made his F1 debut with under its Toro Rosso guise in 2017 - halfway through the 2019 season after a difficult half-season as Max Verstappen’s teammate at Red Bull.

Since then Gasly has thrived at the Faenza squad and followed up a first-ever podium in Brazil 2019 with a shock maiden victory at last year’s Italian Grand Prix.

The Frenchman has continued his strong form into 2021 and claimed a further podium in Baku. He currently sits eighth in the world championship, having scored 66 of AlphaTauri’s 84-point haul so far this year.

Gasly made it three consecutive top-six finishes on the bounce at last weekend’s Dutch Grand Prix, pulling off a stunning overtake on Alpine’s Fernando Alonso on his way to taking a strong fourth.

“Pierre did a fantastic race,” Tost said. “He had everything 100 percent under control because it was not so easy.

“He had to do a lot of tyre management and it was one of the most measured races from Pierre he showed so far. I really can only say well done, congratulations, because this was a fantastic performance he showed.

“We must not forget we called him in on lap 27 because left tyres gave a little bit up and then he had to overtake Alonso, this was a very, very good manoeuvre, and then he managed everything in a really very professional and measured way to bring the fourth place home.”

Despite his impressive performances over the past year, Gasly was overlooked for a return to Red Bull and has instead been retained by AlphaTauri for the 2022 season.

Asked if Gasly continues to surprise him, Tost replied: “No I was always convinced about him.

"I think he surprises some other people. And for me, Pierre belongs currently to the best drivers in Formula 1.”

Gasly heads into this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix, the scene of his sensational first win last year, riding a wave of confidence off the back of several strong results and having had his future sorted.

“I’m obviously happy after yesterday’s announcement, I feel very comfortable in the team, things are going well, and I think there’s definitely more to come for us,” Gasly said.

“I can’t wait to get out on track in Monza, because I feel the mojo is good within the team and the car seems to be working well at all kinds of track, in the wet or the dry.

“To have finished fifth, sixth and fourth in the last three races is proof of that. Zandvoort was an amazing weekend with everything going in the right direction from Friday onwards.”