Pierre Gasly says he ignored Formula 1 team orders from Toro Rosso because he was running out of fuel towards the end of Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix.

With Brendon Hartley rapidly closing onto the back of Gasly in the closing stages at Interlagos, Toro Rosso instructed the Frenchman to allow his teammate through into 11th place due to Hartley being on fresh Supersofts compared to Gasly’s ageing Mediums.

Gasly refused to simply let Hartley by, forcing the Kiwi to pull off an overtake with two laps remaining. Hartley ultimately finished a distant 11th, while Gasly fell to 13th behind the Renault of Carlos Sainz.

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“At the end of the day I’m a racing driver, I’m here to race, I’m not here to let the guy past, especially in this kind of situation,” Gasly explained.

“Looking in the end, we finished P13. I had to do it two laps to the end because I was running out of fuel and I didn’t have any fuel left for the end of the race.

“I was just cruising on the last two laps. I just think if you are in position, you should race, plus he was on new Supersoft tyres, I was dying with my Mediums, so I just told them if he’s that much faster then he can overtake me.

“But for some reason, I don’t know [why], he didn’t do it for 10 laps. Then after we were in such critical situation with the fuel that in the end I did it two laps to go.”

Hartley stressed he could not understand why Gasly failed to budge and was left unimpressed, having previously obeyed team orders to allow Gasly past. 

“I was catching my teammate at a great rate of knots, and I asked what would happen,” Hartley said.

“There’s obviously three different answers I’m going to get: we’re racing each other, hold position, or he’ll let you by.

“I got the call that he would let me by. I’m also defending the car behind and trying to look after my tyres. I didn’t attack, expecting to be let by on four or five occasions, which didn’t happen.

“The rest I don’t know, but in the end, I made the overtake cleanly, destroying my tyres in the mean run.

“[In the past] when I’ve been asked to let by, I’ve done it, and I would have adjusted my race accordingly. If we’re told to race, I’ll happily do it.”

When asked if he could have finished 10th had Gasly let him by, Hartley replied: “No, no, but there’s always a chance of someone retiring.

“In terms of pace, starting from P16, I think I did absolutely the maximum that we could do. The Force India, the Haas and the Sauber were clearly much, much faster than us.

“Finishing P11 was really the maximum race that I could do today starting from P16, and I’m really proud of this race. It’s just annoying not to have a reward for doing a good effort.”

Both drivers insisted they had “no problem” with one another in their separate media sessions that followed the race.

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