Gasly livid after “extremely dangerous” near-miss with Sainz

2023 Canadian Grand Prix

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Pierre Gasly has called for a review of drivers backing off in qualifying after he was impeded by Carlos Sainz Jnr in Q1, leading to his elimination.

Qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix took place in wet conditions with the track drying up as Q1 progressed.

Near the end of the session, Gasly was set to complete a flying lap when he came across a group of cars along the back straight, including Lando Norris, Yuki Tsunoda and Sainz. As Gasly braked for the final chicane, he found Sainz sitting at the apex as he went to turn into the right hander, forcing him to take to the escape road. That ruined his lap compromised the start of his next timed lap.

Gasly was ultimately eliminated from the session in 17th place, leaving him furious that his laps had been compromised by traffic into the final corner.

“They should be banned for this thing!,” Gasly exclaimed over the radio. “I’m coming at over 300[kph]! Like, what the hell do they think?”

The stewards are currently investigating the incident, which is one of many that occurred during the rain-affected qualifying session. Speaking after qualifying, Gasly threw the blame squarely at the Ferrari driver.

“I just think it’s completely unacceptable to be driving the way Carlos did,” Gasly said. “It’s just as simple as that.

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“Coming at 300[kph], he’s sitting 30kph in the last chicane just focusing on his own lap. But you’re not alone on the racetrack.

“First of all, I could not even close the lap, which would have put us in the top six quite easily, and second of all, it was extremely dangerous and it was just unnecessary. So I’m just absolutely gutted.”

With Sainz seemingly under serious threat of a penalty for the incident, Gasly says that it will be no comfort to him should the Ferrari driver be penalised by the stewards.

“That’s not even what I care about because the damage has been done,” he said.

“I’m sitting here in P17 when we have the car and the pace to be in the top 10, eight or even top six in these conditions. So whatever they decide, okay, it’s going to damage him, but it’s not going to give back the qualifying we should have had.”

Gasly received two separate grid penalties at the last round in Spain for impeding Sainz and Max Verstappen in qualifying. However, Gasly believes the circumstances make Sainz’s conduct more egregious than what he was guilty of in Barcelona.

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“Obviously I was in the opposite situation the other day, but the guys finished P1 and P2 and it didn’t impact their Sunday,” he said. “Now I’m sitting here in P17 and obviously it ruined my qualifying and will impact my race a lot. So it’s just not acceptable.”

Gasly says that the sport needs to hold a review into the common problem of drivers backing off in qualifying due to the frequency of near-miss incidents in recent years.

“I think we need to have a review because it just seems to happen. Some guys got penalised in Monaco, some guys got penalised in Barcelona – again, this weekend.

“It wasn’t such a problem in the past, so maybe it’s something between drivers, between communication, I don’t know. But clearly it needs a review because we’re just moments away from having a much worse outcome because it’s becoming dangerous.”

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2023 Canadian Grand Prix

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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12 comments on “Gasly livid after “extremely dangerous” near-miss with Sainz”

  1. I think they should change the rules and ask the drivers to go flat out from the last 2 corners of the track… and start the flying lap or take it track by track basis.

    1. All that does is move the problem to the slow corner before the last two corners of the track.

      1. @sjaakfoo Yes, in theory, but less of an issue earlier on a lap than before last or last few corners because drivers aren’t preparing to start a flyer yet.

        1. @jerejj The issue is trying to get a gap to the driver in front. It doesn’t matter if you are preparing for a lap, it will be exactly the same bunching up when a driver comes flying.

          Probably even worse, as they often do their laps close to the same point in time, and sometimes the queue has time to clear before the first runners come flying. Further back means they’ll arrive sooner.

          1. @losd Yes, I see what you mean, but what I meant is that earlier on a lap, drivers usually drive at constant speed off the racing line rather than slow almost to a halt before accelerating towards the timing line at corner entry.

          2. @jerejj Ah true, eliminating that may actually make the problem go away. And no reason to sort out the distance between them at a specific point anymore.

  2. I’m surprised how difficult avoiding others, especially Albon (4 times, lol), was for Sainz at or into the final chicane yesterday, especially as he seemingly diddn’t struggle with that elsewhere on the lap length.
    Generally, I’m baffled how driver-race engineer combinations seemingly never learn from their errors but commit to impeding over & over again despite having dome motorsport for a long time & avoiding being a simple task far from rocket science.
    Yes, the roles were reversed in Montmelo, but unacceptable nevertheless & the fact Gasly’s chance of progressing into Q2 directly failed because of Sainz’s lack of awareness, unlike the last race weekend, only makes the situation worse despite Circuit Gilles Villeneuve being among the more overtaking-friendly circuits.
    A high-speed collision will eventually happen if nothing changes, so perhaps F1 should start handing out a 10-place drop instead of 3 so that teams would have more incentive to avoid impeding to their best.

    1. notagrumpyfan
      18th June 2023, 7:25

      F1 should start handing out a 10-place drop instead of 3 so that teams would have more incentive to avoid impeding

      This wasn’t impeding, but dangerous driving. Gasly had to leave the track and take the escape road to avoid a major accident.
      I assume ‘dangerous driving’ can be penalised more than with only a meagre 3 places and no points.

      PS Sainz did impede Tsunoda, but miraculously wasn’t even investigated for that.

      1. You are right: Sainz should be handed two penalties, one for the incident with Gasly, the other for the incident with Tsunoda.

    2. I didn’t notice until a moment ago that I had typed ‘F1’ instead of ‘FIA’ yesterday.

      1. ‘F1’ is probably more correct than ‘FIA’ ;)
        At the bottom of the infringement notices ( it states: “Decisions of the Stewards are taken independently of the FIA and are based solely on the relevant regulations, guidelines and evidence presented.

  3. There is impeding and there is this.. my butt clenched seeing the onboards

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