Pierre Gasly says the damage he received in his Austrian Grand Prix clash with Stoffel Vandoorne left his Toro Rosso feeling more like a "rallycross car than a Formula 1”. 

Gasly and Vandoorne came together at Turn 3 on the opening lap, causing damage to both cars, with the latter forced into the pits as he fell a lap down early on. Meanwhile Gasly suffered bent suspension and lost part of his floor.

Despite the significant amounts of damage which caused him to “almost go off 20 times”, Gasly ran inside the points until he dropped to 11th in the closing stages.

“For me this was honestly one of the toughest races I’ve ever had,” he explained. “After the contact with Stoffel [Vandoorne] on lap one, Turn 3, the rear suspension was bent and he also took half of the rear floor away so from that point I was just sliding everywhere.

“I fighting so much with the car, so we were quite lucky to go until the end. I almost went off 20 times in the race, just trying to keep it on the track. For sure it would have been nice to score points, but we tried everything but it was almost more driving a rallycross car than an F1. It was pretty tough.”

Driver Ratings - Austrian GP

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The Frenchman felt the damage robbed him of a solid points finish, adding he was frustrated not to be able to capitalise on a multitude of issues for front-running drivers. 

“The damage was affecting performance because every time I’d turn into a left-hander it was like when you have a bent steering in a go-kart: for one side you have super-oversteer, to the other you have super-understeer,” he said. 

“Of course it was also affecting the tyre life because I was sliding in every corner and that destroyed the tyres. It was quite a big shame, because when you see Hamilton and Bottas out, Daniel out, there was a big opportunity and I think P8 was easily within our reach in normal conditions.”

While Gasly believes Vandoorne was to blame for the incident, he put the crash down to misjudgement rather than an act of carelessness. 

“I had Lance [Stroll] on my left and he had [Nico] Hulkenberg to his left. I think we were four wide and the track wasn’t wide enough,” he explained. 

“I know Stoffel - he’s not careless - It was probably just misjudgement or something like this. I know he didn’t do it on purpose but it certainly affected the rest of my race.”

Gasly’s teammate Brendon Hartley thought a second career F1 points finish was on the table, until he was forced into retirement in the second half of the race with an issue that is yet to be ascertained by the team. 

"Halfway through the lap, I felt something not right on the rear of the car," Hartley said. "I immediately asked the team - I thought I might have a puncture, they said it was all fine - then as I entered Turn 9, something completely broke on the rear end of the car.

"We don't know what's broken yet. Nothing to do with Honda. There was no high impact with anything, so they're still investigating what happened. The team believes with the pace that I had, I could have finished in the points today so that's quite disappointing."

Austrian GP - 5 Amazing Austrian Grand Prix Moments

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