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Formula 1

Miami F1 clash victims react with regret, dismissal and surprise

by Scott Mitchell-Malm, Matt Beer
5 min read

While Fernando Alonso was quick to apologise to Pierre Gasly for their collision in the Miami Grand Prix, Gasly felt he had nothing to say sorry to Lando Norris for in their related high-speed clash.

The chain of events began when Alonso took a lunge at Gasly for ninth place going into the first corner at the start of lap 39, making contact with the AlphaTauri’s right rear and sending it sideways.

“Fernando just dive-bombed into me, crashed into me and broke the rear right corner,” was Gasly’s assessment.

An apologetic Alonso, who got a 5s penalty for the clash, didn’t really disagree.

“I closed the gap, and was very optimistic on the move with him,” said Alonso.

“I touched with Gasly again, got a penalty of five seconds. I deserved it. I braked too late. We were ready to give back the position but he was in the pits at that time, so I had to pay those five seconds.

“It was my mistake, it happens to me sometimes. Mick [Schumacher] spun in Imola and destroyed my race. Today, I destroyed Pierre’s race so it was my mistake.

“I feel sorry for him because I know how he feels and it was not his fault.”

Gasly accepted that apology but was still keen to emphasise his annoyance.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Miami Grand Prix Race Day Miami, Usa

“Yeah he came to apologise, but unfortunately it’s not going to give us back the points and it’s a big shame,” he said.

“I’m disappointed because it was a great afternoon. We had a brilliant start passing Lewis [Hamilton] into Turn 1, running in P7 after that and we would have had a great battle with Fernando but he just took it a step too far and unfortunately it ruined our race.”

Gasly hoped he could continue but after one more lap, it became clear the AlphaTauri was carrying too much damage.

He went onto the run-off area at the long Turn 7 right-hander, which allowed both Haases through.

But when Norris tried to follow them through the subsequent kinks, contact between his right rear and Gasly’s left front ripped a tyre from the McLaren and sent it spinning between the walls.

“We did one more lap to see if we could continue and the car was too damaged,” Gasly explained.

“I couldn’t stay on track, couldn’t even steer left anymore

“I was going slow after Turn 7. All the cars passed, I was trying to keep right to give room and then Norris came and clipped my front left tyre.

“I was so slow I was just trying to squeeze the car as much to the right as I could. In Turn 8 I was turning right and he came and everything went quite fast but I was trying to give room to everyone and he came and came close to me and clipped the front left.”

Norris’s initial assessment of what happened was when he was unsure how much Gasly could actually control his car at the time.

“He went off the track, had a lot of damage, from my opinion he just drifted over to the left quite a bit, the track is kinking to the right, he wasn’t turning to the right,” said Norris.

“If he was going to box, then he should be getting out of my way a lot more than he did. It’s tough.

“If he was struggling to control the car, it’s life, I’m unlucky. It happens in racing sometimes.

“If it wasn’t that bad, he shouldn’t be drifting on track like he was doing.

“It looked like he was looking in his right mirror and wasn’t looking where I was on his left. I’m not sure, I don’t want to blame him, I’ll speak to him and see what he says.”

When told by The Race that Gasly was struggling to turn the car, Norris accepted that but wondered what option he actually had in that situation.

“Then it’s just unlucky, on the onboard it kinks right, the track goes this way, and he’s coming straight across it,” he said.

“If it’s because of the damage, I don’t know what I should do. Drive right next to the wall and hope for the best or something?

“Just unlucky, luckily it wasn’t like we lost out on a lot of points. Eighth was probably the best we could have done today.

“The Alfa Romeos and Mercedes are much faster, so luckily we didn’t lose out on too much, but a few points would have been better.”

Asked if he felt he had anything to apologise to Norris for, Gasly said he didn’t think so as he felt Norris could’ve done more to avoid the incident.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Miami Grand Prix Race Day Miami, Usa

“I don’t think that’s necessary,” said Gasly of the prospect of apologising.

“I was trying to give room. He could have probably gone to the left. I was turning right.

“You guys can check the onboards, i don’t know where I could have gone and I was slow just trying to get back to the pits.

“Unfortunate for him because that’s not the way you want to finish the race, but obviously it all started with Alonso crashing into us and breaking our car.”

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