SHANGHAI, China - Toro Rosso teammates Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley have put their Chinese Grand Prix crash down to a miscommunication.
The pair collided on lap 30 in Shanghai when Gasly made a move down the inside of Turn 14 only for Hartley to turn into him. The contact left debris strewn across the circuit and forced a Safety Car to be deployed which completely changed the complexion of the race. Later, Gasly was adjudged to have caused the collision and was subsequently slapped with a 10-second time penalty.
However, speaking after the race, Gasly said the team had advised him to pass the New Zealander which was the reason why he attempted the move.
"I was catching Brendon and we were on two different strategies. At some point we would need a driver swap and they told me on the radio 'okay Brendon is going to let you past' at the end of the straight," Gasly said. "I expected him to let me by, I expected him to give me some space and I expected him to see me as I was quite close to him.
"I went on the inside and finally, I don't know if he didn't see me but I expected him to leave a bit of space for me to turn. I was on the inside and it was too late, there was nothing I could do. I tried to brake to avoid him but it was too late, we made contact and that was it. Next time we need to make sure we have better communication between each other."
Hartley agreed with his teammate that a lack of communication was the primary reason for the contact saying he had planned to let him by at a different part of the circuit.
"I've just been chatting to Pierre, clearly a miscommunication," Hartley said. "We swapped positions on the first stint as well because I was struggling on the ultra-soft. I let him by on the exit of Turn 14, and the second time I was asked, I planned to do the same, but my feeling is, I don't know, he must have thought that I was opening a door on entry, which was not the case.
"Clearly a miscommunication. I think he thought I was letting him by, but I planned to let him by on corner exit as we were on different strategies."
The pair continued after the collision but wound up finishing in P18 and P20, a stark difference to last weekend when Gasly claimed a stunning fourth place in Bahrain.
Formula 1 Heineken Chinese Grand Prix U.S. coverage presented by Mothers Polish (All times ET)
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