Hamilton criticises Gasly after ‘unnecessary’ contact

Jon Wilde
Pierre Gasly spins in the Austrian GP sprint. Red Bull Ring July 2022.

Pierre Gasly spins at the start of the Austrian Grand Prix sprint. Red Bull Ring July 2022.

Lewis Hamilton criticised Pierre Gasly’s driving after contact between their cars sent the AlphaTauri hopping into the air at the start of the Austrian Grand Prix sprint.

Off the line at the Red Bull Ring, Gasly moved alongside Hamilton, who had started one place ahead of him, only for a clash of wheels to lift him briefly airborne and into the run-off area at the opening corner.

The Frenchman made a recovery of sorts to finish 15th and will start the grand prix itself one place higher due to an engine penalty incurred by Valtteri Bottas.

Hamilton, who found himself stuck behind Mick Schumacher for a sizeable portion of the 23-lap sprint, ultimately got past the Haas and starts eighth.

The seven-time former World Champion described the early incident as “unnecessary” while Gasly was unable to shed much light on it, with the stewards deciding no blame should be apportioned to either driver.

Pierre Gasly whispers to Lewis Hamilton. Miami May 2022
AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly whispers to Lewis Hamilton during a press conference. Miami May 2022

Asked by Formula1.com for his version of events, Hamilton said: “One, I didn’t have a good start, and secondly I don’t understand these drivers.

“I don’t know if they know they are moving across but it was just unnecessary – he had so much space on his right, so that’s unfortunate for sure.

“I got some sort of damage there, I don’t know exactly what, but it was a big hit to my front and I was just grateful I could continue.

“Then I got another one further up by the Williams and the Red Bull did the same thing. But I managed to just survive, so grateful.”

On his hopes for the grand prix, Hamilton, who had crashed in qualifying on Friday, hence his midfield grid slot for the sprint, said: “I hope it’s not like today. We’ll see – fingers crossed.”

It was not the first time Gasly has been involved in a first-lap skirmish in a sprint for it also happened at last year’s Italian Grand Prix, where he crashed out.

Asked by Formula 1 to explain what had occurred with Hamilton, he said: “I don’t even know, you probably know better than me what’s happened.

“I was alongside Lewis and suddenly we touched and I was facing the other way of the racetrack.

“Just extremely disappointed – we started in the top 10 and then before the first corner it was already over.”

On how the car had felt after the contact, he added: “The whole floor on the left side was broken, so it was pretty horrendous.”