Pierre Gasly has received a reprimand after almost causing a collision with Lewis Hamilton during the first free practice session in Japan. The Toro Rosso driver was slowly making his way towards the final chicane, attempting to make a gap to a Williams ahead.
However, Hamilton was closing in behind and Gasly failed to react in time, causing Hamilton to slam on the brakes and turn out of the corner. The four-time world champion used the escape road and expressed his frustration with Gasly by raising his hand as he drove past.
Gasly has avoided any sort of grid penalty but has been handed his second reprimand of the season. If a driver receives three reprimands throughout a season, he will receive a ten-place grid penalty for the next race, but only if two or more of the reprimands were for driving infringements.
"On approaching turn 16, car number 10 [Gasly] slowed down significantly on the racing line," read a statement from the stewards. "Car 44 [Hamilton] was approaching at racing speed on a hot lap and had to take evasive action to avoid car 10.
“The driver of car number 10 admitted that he impeded car 44 and acknowledged that he ought to have stayed on the right hand side of the track and had left it too late to move off the racing line. As this occurred in free practice, we imposed a reprimand on the driver of car number 10.”
Gasly received his first reprimand earlier this year after his lap one collision with Esteban Ocon (who was also reprimanded) at the French Grand Prix. Gasly finished the first practice session at Suzuka in eleventh place, and will be hoping that Honda's new upgraded engine, which he is running this weekend, offers him a boost towards the end of the season.
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing