‘It doesn’t matter if it’s your friend, I was still upset’ – Gasly on Styrian GP clash with Leclerc
Pierre Gasly says he was surprised that Charles Leclerc wasn’t investigated by the stewards for the Lap 1 clash between the two drivers that ended the Frenchman's Styrian Grand Prix – and he revealed he had not calmed down by the time Leclerc came to see him after the race.
Gasly’s race ended after a clash at Turn 1 last weekend that saw him exit the corner with a puncture caused by contact with Leclerc, and subsequently retire the car. And ahead of this weekend's Austrian GP, he said that he was surprised that Leclerc avoided investigation, given Valtteri Bottas was given a three-place grid penalty for spinning in the pits last weekend.
“Obviously it wasn’t done on purpose and it’s not something that Charles deliberately did, but for sure, it has quite a big consequence on my race and, especially after seeing Valtteri get a [three-place grid penalty] for losing control of his car in the pit lane but not really affecting anyone else’s race, and this, which obviously had an impact on my race, yes, I must say, I was a bit surprised,” said Gasly.
“At the end of the day I just care about my own race and it would have not changed anything on my side. It’s something that we’re just going to talk about with Michael [Masi, FIA Race Director].”
Given that Gasly and Leclerc have raced against each other for a number of years and are close friends off track, the AlphaTauri driver was asked if the Styrian GP incident had tested their friendship.
He replied: “He came to see me after the race; I was still pissed off. It doesn’t matter if it’s your friend, I was still quite upset, but as I said, I know him, I know the way he races, he’s a fair guy and he didn’t do it on purpose.
“It’s just hard but it’s part of racing: these things happen once in a while. We’ve been in Formula 1 together for four years, came together quite close many times and unfortunately this time I had to retire and we just need to make sure it doesn’t happen anymore,” he added.
As for Leclerc, the Ferrari driver said he cleared the air with Gasly after the race and is “quite satisfied” with his own wheel-to-wheel racing.
“Looking back at the incident, yes, there’s maybe something I could have done to avoid it but now it’s too late,” said the Monegasque driver.
“For my wheel-to-wheel racing, I am quite satisfied with it. It’s also on the limit but last race, it helped us massively to come back through the field without losing too much pace. It’s always a fine balance, it was obviously a bit too much on the first lap, but I spoke with Pierre, everything is fine there and that’s it,” he surmised ahead of this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix.