Pierre Gasly escaped a race ban after the stewards did not penalize him for his collision with Esteban Ocon in the Australian Grand Prix, while his teammate called multiple drivers “suicidal” in their approach to restarts.
A strong race from Gasly had him fighting for the podium but he ran wide at Turn 1 on the final restart when side-by-side with Carlos Sainz, who in turn tagged Fernando Alonso into a spin. When Gasly rejoined he drifted across the track into Ocon and both drivers were taken out of the race, prompting an investigation by the stewards.
Gasly is just two penalty points away from the 12 required to trigger a race ban but no further action was taken after the stewards deemed it a first lap racing incident following discussions with both drivers.
Ocon himself was frustrated to be caught up in the incident but said he doesn’t hold blame against Gasly as he believes many drivers approached the restart with two laps remaining too aggressively.
“Before starting about the last lap crash, just thinking about the positives and just reflecting on everything that didn’t go our way,” Ocon said. “But that was out of our control, really. We had a mega start (initially), I gained three places. We decided to box on purpose to put the hard tire very early on. And obviously if there was no red flag just after that, we would have been like fourth or fifth. It would have been a very good first stint. So, that didn’t go our way.
“We lost everything that that we took from the red flag, then it was a very lonely race. I overtook the cars that had DRS so they were not without defense, it was very hard to to pass them and we did so. Then the pace was similar to the Ferraris and the Astons in front. So that was very promising.
“Obviously a very chaotic restart then honestly, it could have been any cars that I collided with. There was cars coming back on the track, obviously Pierre was one of them. But no hard feelings. He came and apologized and as I said, it could have been anyone.
“My tires were hot. I didn’t feel like it was very slippery. But what was tricky was the light being a little bit lower, we couldn’t really see so well. But some drivers were just suicidal a bit in Turn 1, like Nyck (de Vries) on the side. It was very close and obviously there’s a lot to gain at the time, but a little bit too much for some drivers.”