Baku (AFP) – Pierre Gasly said his high-speed near-miss with Toro Rosso team-mate Brendon Hartley on Saturday was the “scariest moment of my career”.
The Frenchman came towards Turn 15 at the end of the Q1 part of qualifying at a speed of around 320 kph and found Hartley slowing in the middle of the track with a puncture.
“It was really scary for me – the scariest moment of my career,” said Gasly. “I didn’t know if he was going left or going right.
“I don’t know what happened to Brendon. He slowed down massively.
“I was at 320 kph and, honestly, he almost stopped.
“I tried to avoid him, but I felt sure I was going to crash.
“I could already see myself in the air.
“I don’t know how I avoided it, but it was a pretty scary moment.
“Ok, maybe if he has a puncture, it doesn’t help him and I am sure he didn’t do it on purpose, but he was on the line.
“I wasn’t sure if he was going to go on line or not.”
Hartley accepted it was his fault.
“It was a disaster,” he said. “I’m pretty upset about that.
“I hadn’t put a lap on the board – and then I clipped the inside wall and, through the left hander, I knew I had an issue and slowed down.
“I was unaware Pierre was so close behind me.
“Obviously, I was going half-speed, trying to figure how bad the problem was and I completely messed it up.
“The problem is, with the walls, you don’t see them coming.
“I made a big mistake and I’m sorry for him. I owe him a big apology for getting in the way and nearly causing a huge accident.”