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Gasly: Collision down to mix-up of team orders

Toro Rosso driver apologised to his team-mate after the race

Chinese Grand Prix – Pierre Gasly explained that the collision with team-mate Brendon Hartley came as a result of a miscommunication of team orders.

The Toro Rosso pair were on different strategies when they came together half-way through the Chinese Grand Prix, with Gasly attempting to pass Hartley on the inside of turn fourteen.

However, the door was already closing when Gasly made the move and the Frenchman tagged his team-mate, sending his colleague into a spin and damaging both cars.

The incident initially appeared to be a poorly-executed overtake, but both Gasly and Hartley explained that there was a communication error with a planned driver switch.

“It was a difficult weekend for us overall because we never found the pace since Saturday morning,” bemoaned Gasly, “we knew the race would be difficult after the performance we had in qualifying and the car was quite tricky.

“Today things didn’t really work out for us, so we have plenty to analyse between the two weekends and try to understand why we were fast in Bahrain and why we struggled in Shanghai.

“I apologise to Brendon for the contact we had, the team told me that they were going to switch our positions so I went on the inside of the back straight thinking he would give me space.

“Unfortunately, I don’t think he saw me and once I was on the inside there was nothing I could do.

“We lost a lot of time after that, I broke my front wing and the steering bent at the end of the race, so it was really difficult to drive and we couldn’t do much from there.”

Hartley explained that a similar instruction had happened earlier in the race and the New Zealander claimed he was trying to replicate the move.

“I think the accident with Pierre was down to a miscommunication,” added Hartley. “The team asked us to swap positions because we were on completely different strategies, so I was going to let him by on the exit of Turn 14 like I did at the start of the race.

“The second time we had to change positions I planned to do the same but I got hit from behind at the apex. Then towards the end of the race I had to retire because the team saw an issue with the gearbox. In the end it was a long afternoon.”

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