Gasly defends "hard racing" after Norris F1 criticism

AlphaTauri Formula 1 driver Pierre Gasly has defended his aggressive move on Lando Norris in France, which angered the McLaren driver.

Gasly defends "hard racing" after Norris F1 criticism

During Sunday's French Grand Prix Norris branded Gasly “an idiot” on the McLaren team radio after the Frenchman forcefully passed him and then slid wide himself.

“It was hard racing, but I really enjoyed it," Gasly commented when asked about the Norris incident by Motorsport.com. "You can't expect to go around the outside and the guy not to fight.

“So I tried to keep it clean. It's really a difficult corner, very long, you're on the edge of the grip. You have also a tailwind, so it's difficult to keep the car on track. I haven't seen the footage, I'll look at to see if it was too much or not. 

“I slid on the kerb on the exit. I think I'm quite a fair racer, and the next lap I think we fought again. It's racing.”

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Gasly ultimately lost out to both Norris and Daniel Ricciardo, but he continued his run of strong points finishes in 2021 with a seventh place.

“I need to let the emotions calm down a bit, because it was an intense race with a lot of things going on,” he explained. “But you know, P7, we are the fourth best car at the end, behind the two McLarens, the two Mercedes, and the two Red Bulls. So I think we can be only pleased with that.

“Obviously there are still a couple of things which I feel could maybe be done slightly differently, like around the pit stop we let Charles [Leclerc] and [Daniel] Ricciardo undercut us, and it cost us track position.

"I had to battle straight out of the box, and damaged the tyres quite early on the stint. So, there's still a few things we need to review, but all-in-all P7, fourth-placed car, we can't complain about that. A lot of good battles, so I think it was a strong race.”

Gasly said he couldn’t understand why Ferrari performed so badly in the race, with Leclerc eventually tumbling down to a lowly 16th.

“I was really surprised, crazy, I don't really know what's happened with Charles. But he definitely damaged a lot the tyre," he said. “The thing is the degradation was so high. We were not really pushing even at the start. Some laps it was strong, some you could see I had a big graining, so it was pretty tough in terms of tyre management.”

Gasly admitted that he’d faced some handling struggles as well: “I had no stability, I had no rotation mid-corner, my traction was shit.

“It was very difficult I think for everybody probably, just completely different than Friday. Completely different than Saturday. And there's not much you can do.

“I tried to do the best with the limitation I had, but I must say it was very, very difficult.”

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