The 2019 F1 season for Gasly has been a tough one at best, with him being demoted from Red Bull Racing at the summer break after string of average results in the races prior. It’s almost fitting then, that the Frenchman’s final race of the season was a disaster.
Off the line, all was well for the Toro Rosso driver, but an early incident with the Racing Point cars saw him without a front wing, and last at the end of the first lap, as he was hit from the back by Stroll, and therefore sent into Sergio Perez.
Gasly was understandably livid, especially as he was in a tight championship battle with McLaren’s Carlos Sainz heading into the race.
“I don’t want to speak too much,” started Gasly. “I’m not going to be really nice with Lance. Last race of the season, just to ruin your race with the first-corner incident, it’s clearly annoying. It put us one lap down from the first lap.
“The whole race, I was, basically praying for a safety car, looking at the standing, and then not being able to take the fight to Carlos. Looking at what Daniil did, I think we clearly had the pace to be right there and hold on to that sixth place. It’s really frustrating.
“I don’t have eyes on my back, that’s why I’m not going to talk much, I need to see the footage, but I just got hit from behind and then basically lost the car and then the front wing touched with Checo. So, basically that was it.
“I’m just pissed off because I didn’t take the fight to Carlos and we clearly had the car and the pace to do it. We had a good advantage, starting P11 on the grid. Daniil was two places behind and he finished P9. I wasn’t really looking at Alex but more Carlos.
“It was just to finish ahead of him, and we had the opportunity, and from what I could see so far, Lance just ruined everything. With Stroll behind, there’s a 50-50 chance that things will go wrong. It sucks, it really sucks because as I said, we had a good pace.
“I’m just disgusted with what happened, because we clearly had the potential to keep sixth place. It’s annoying when this kind of thing happens.” He finished seventh in the standings with 95 points, one behind Sainz but managed to beat Red Bull’s Alexander Albon.
Meanwhile, Stroll continued in the race like Perez but eventually retired with brake issues in his car. He was unable to recover the time after also getting a new front wing in his stop, but the Canadian driver didn’t have much to say regarding the incident with Gasly.
“I had contact on the first lap with Gasly and had to pit because of the damage to my front wing,” said Stroll. “After that, we were out of position, running down the order, and it was really hard to get back into contention. We explored the strategy options.
“I stopped twice, but when you lose so much time early on by changing the front wing, it’s difficult to recover. Unfortunately, we had a brake issue so we have to see what went wrong because I was struggling to stop the car. That’s why we retired.”
[Note: this article was written by me for Formula Rapida, and edited by Darshan Chokhani]