Brendon Hartley says his frustration during the Brazilian Grand Prix stemmed from Pierre Gasly not following the order from Toro Rosso to let him past.
In the closing stages, Hartley — on supersofts — had caught 11th-placed Gasly, who was on an old set of medium tires. The pair had Carlos Sainz directly behind, and Toro Rosso gave the order to switch cars, but Gasly refused to do so and asked on team radio why they couldn’t race as they were outside of the points. Hartley was also animated in discussions with the team and says his annoyance came from following the instructions he was given.
“I was catching my teammate at a great rate of knots, and I asked what would happen,” Hartley explained. “There’s obviously three different answers I’m going to get: we’re racing each other, hold position, or he’ll let you by. I got the call that he would let me by.
“I’m also defending the car behind and trying to look after my tires. I didn’t attack, expecting to be let by on four or five occasions, which didn’t happen. The rest I don’t know, but in the end, I made the overtake cleanly, destroying my tires in the meantime. It didn’t bring a point (but), I’m really happy with the effort and did the overtake regardless.
“When I’ve been asked to let by, I do it, and I would have adjusted my race accordingly. If we’re told to race, I’ll happily do it, but if we’re told to do otherwise… Anyway, I’m happy with my race, and in the end I made the overtake fair and square. Just annoying not to score a point.”
From Gasly’s side, the Frenchman explains he felt the situation should have been left for the pair to fight on track, as they were a long way behind Sergio Perez in 10th.
“I had to (let Hartley by) two laps to the end because I was running out of fuel,” Gasly said. “I was just cruising on the last two laps.
“I just think if you are in position, you should race; plus, he was on new supersoft tires, I was dying with my mediums, so I just told them if he’s that much faster then he can overtake me, but for some reason I don’t know, he didn’t do it for 10 laps. Then after we were in such critical situation with the fuel that in the end I did it with two laps to go.
“It’s not the first time it happened, and I think different if you’re in the top 10 — there is something to play for. There wasn’t anything to play for — P11, P12, P13. At the end I’m a racing driver, I’m here to race, that’s what I want and that’s what I like. That’s my perception of motorsport and how it should be.”