Neither Toro Rosso driver made it through Q1 during qualifying at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix but both were lucky to make it back to the garage uninjured after a frightening near miss at the end of the session.
Brendon Hartley was traveling slowly with a puncture on the fast run down to Turn 15 when teammate Pierre Gasly closed in rapidly on his final hot lap. The pair almost collided when the Kiwi momentarily moved in the same direction as the Frenchman in his attempt to move out of the way.
The road between Turns 12 and 15 is a fast, downhill left-hander and one of the most dangerous parts of the circuit. A collision before the braking zone could have been catastrophic.
Gasly was forced to abandon his lap and take rapid evasive action, leaving him 17th for the session, while Hartley ended the afternoon 19th without a representative time.
“I clipped the wall,” Hartley explained to Sky Sports F1. “I was still pushing, then through the very fast left-hander I realized I had some kind of big issue.
“I didn’t know what it was so I slowed down immediately, trying to understand [and] unaware that Pierre was really so close behind me.
That happened really quickly and I should have been more aware to get out of the way, so it’s my fault. I obviously owe him a big apology for getting in the way like that and almost causing a big accident.”
Gasly was furious over team radio and said he could visualize himself having an accident as he steered around his teammate.
“It was pretty scary,” he told Sky Sports F1. “The lap was coming nicely, I was seven-tenths faster than my fastest lap in the end.
“It’s a really fast corner, it’s 320 kilometers per hour [198mph] mainly, and honestly I saw he was almost stopped, so I tried to avoid him but I was sure I was going to crash.
“I could already see myself in the air … I don’t really know how I avoided it, but it was a pretty scary moment. He didn’t do it in purpose that’s for sure. The thing is he was on the [racing] line.
“Just a shame as we could have been in Q2 easily, but in the end we will start really far [back] tomorrow.”