The heart-stopping moment when Pierre Gasly was inches away from a high-speed impact with his Toro Rosso teammate during qualifying today, has been described by the Frenchman as the "scariest moment" of his career.
The incident happened at towards the end of Q1, when Gasly found himself rapidly closing in on Hartley who has suffered a puncture after brushing the barriers.
As the Frenchman moved to his right to avoid his teammate, so too did Hartley, but somehow Gasly managed to avoid the other Toro Rosso and after subsequently hitting the brakes, locked-up and headed down the escape road.
Numerous replays of the incident showed just how close Gasly came to a major incident.
"It was really scary, the scariest moment of my career," said the Frenchman. "I didn't know if he was going left or going right.
"I don't know what happened, he slowed down massively," he continued. "I was at 320 (km/h) and, honestly, he almost stopped, I tried to avoid him and I was 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.
"Maybe if he has a puncture it doesn't help him," he admitted, the Frenchman being advised of Hartley's problem after the incident. "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. I am sure it wasn't on purpose, maybe next time we need a bigger gap between our cars.
"It's clear that no one wanted anything like this to happen, but it's the second time we've had a coming together so we need to make sure that we avoid situations like these," he concluded, referring to their coming together in China.
"It was a disaster of a day," admitted Hartley. "I hadn't done a lap until the point of the incident because the previous ones were interrupted by yellow flags.
"This lap was coming along really well and I was happy with the car, but I clipped the inside of the wall very lightly. At the beginning I didn't think there was any damage so I was still pushing, then I realised going through the fast left-hander that there was a puncture. I had to slow down immediately trying to avoid hitting the wall, but Pierre was coming very quickly behind and I completely misjudged it. When I looked in the mirrors I moved to the left and that's the same way he wanted to go.
"I made a complete mess of it. I'm really disappointed and I owe him a big apology because that was really average."
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