'No hard feelings' – Alpine pair Gasly and Ocon reflect on their race-ending collision in Melbourne
It was an unfortunate ending to the Australian Grand Prix for Alpine, as drivers Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon made contact on Lap 58, sending both into the barriers, along with their hopes of a double-points finish.
At the second restart of the race, Gasly starting in fifth went off the track at Turn 1 looking to avoid making contact with the rear of Fernando Alonso's car. But as he made his way back onto the circuit, he instead ended up making contact with his team mate, with the resulting incident bringing a premature end to both he and Ocon's race.
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When asked about his part in the clash following the race, a dejected Gasly said: “I mean for now I’m just extremely disappointed with the outcome of the race. I gave everything out there… I don’t even want to comment about the ending.
"We remember what happened before. For now, I’m just gutted to miss out on a strong result and we will have a couple of weeks to look back at these last two laps.”
Gasly was choosing to remember the part of the race where he ran in fifth, keeping pace with Alonso and Carlos Sainz ahead, the Frenchman believing their performance will serve as some “extra motivation” for the Grands Prix to come.
“I was pretty much in the gearbox of Carlos for quite many laps, [and] I was catching Fernando,” Gasly explained. “I think at the end there they picked up a bit more pace. All in all, I don’t feel like we’ve missed much to be fighting with them properly. We were both 30 laps [and] I had Fernando in my sights.
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“I was kind of hoping that we could pick up a bit of pace towards the end. It came a bit unexpected, but I felt comfortable in the car and that’s clearly giving us some good direction for the future with the team on what we need, and just giving some extra motivation for the coming races that we've got the pace to be fighting up there.”
Speaking just after his team mate, Ocon explained: “Obviously, Pierre came back off the track to on the track and left me no room and we collided, but no hard feelings, you know.
"It could have been anyone and he came and apologised so it’s all good on that side. It’s just that yeah, it never seemed to tick on our way this weekend."
Ocon had endured a turbulent weekend up until that point, starting with him missing out on Q3 in qualifying by 0.007s, making contact with Nyck de Vries’s AlphaTauri on Lap 10 during the race, going past Yuki Tsunoda and Oscar Piastri to get into the points before ultimately crashing out with his team mate.
“The rest of the weekend, the rest of the race, how much positives there was in that race and looking at the pace, what’s crazy is that I've never had a weekend like [this] where it never clicks, the result in your direction.
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“The pace was good, the pace was strong, and we were as fast as the Astons and the Ferrari in front. So it’s difficult to digest and obviously that last restart, a very chaotic start, a lot of cars off the track.
“Overtaking around the outside against those cars that had DRS in front, it was not like cars that were without defence. We were not far off Sergio [Perez] at the time in terms of pace and that was pretty good, so you know, we keep that in mind and hopefully come back stronger next [race],” Ocon concluded.