There was tension in the Toro Rosso garage post-race in Brazil after Pierre Gasly refused to carry out team orders at Interlagos. The team instructed the Frenchman to move over and allow teammate Brendon Hartley past, who was on fresher tyres.
The two were racing outside of the top ten throughout the race. Hartley, who started on the medium compound, pitted on lap 49 for a fresh set of super soft tyres. He then caught up to the back of Gasly, who was on old medium tyres which were to take him to the end.
Hartley asked to be let by as he was faster and the Renault of Carlos Sainz was breathing down his neck. The Kiwi claims that he had to make the move the hard way at the end of the race, but Gasly claims he let him past with two laps to go.
“I had to do it two laps to the end because I was running out of fuel,” the Frenchman said. “I didn’t have any fuel left for the end of the race I was just cruising the two last laps. I just think if you are in this position you should race. Plus he was on new super-soft tyres, I was dying with my mediums.
“I just told them OK, if he is faster he can overtake me but for some reasons I don’t know he didn’t do it for 10 laps. But then after we were in such a critical situation with the fuel that in the end I did it two laps to go.”
“I think it’s different if you are in the top 10, there is something to play for. Today there wasn’t anything to play for in P11, P12, P13. At the end I’m a racing driver, I’m here to race, that’s what I want and that’s what I like and that’s my perception of motorsport and how it should be.”
Hartley says that he initially didn't fight his way through as he was told that Gasly would let him past: “I was catching my team mate a great rate of knots and I asked what would happen. So there’s obviously three different answers I’m going to get.
"We’re racing each other, hold position or he’ll let you by. So I got the call that he would let me by. I’m also defending the car behind [Sainz] and trying to look after my tyres.
"So 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 meantime. But nevertheless it didn’t bring a point.”
Despite not scoring points, Hartley says that he is proud of his race that saw him climb five positions and finish 20 seconds behind Sergio Perez, who claimed the final point scoring place.
“I’m really happy with the effort and did the overtake regardless. But P11, it’s a bit frustrating not to finish P10. There wasn’t many retirements today in front of us and. Honestly I’m really proud of this race it’s just annoying not to have a reward for doing a good effort.”
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing