In the dying minutes of Q1, with Gasly on the verge of making it through, the Frenchman came up on turn 15 and his trundling teammate, who was nursing a puncture. "I don't know what happened to Brendon but he slowed down massively before turn 15 and I came around the previous corner doing 320 kph (199 mph)," Gasly told reporters at the Baku City Circuit.
"I only just managed to avoid him. I could already see myself go airborne," said Gasly, admitting "It was really scary," as Hartley had a bit of a wiggle to make things just a little hairier. "I'm sure Brendon didn't do it on purpose, if he had a puncture that obviously didn't help."
Hartley, for his part, said after qualifying that he hadn't spoken to his teammate yet. "But I owe him a big apology," he admitted. Explaining the near miss, Hartley said he was taking it easy checking for damage after he tagged a wall at the difficult Azerbaijan track. "I didn't know Pierre was so close behind. It's difficult to see here, with all the walls around the track."
The New-Zealander, too, admitted it could've been a huge accident. "I made a big mistake and I'm sorry for him," he said of Gasly, who ended up having to take to the run-off area. The incident left both Gasly and Hartley unable to make it through to Q2. Gasly ended up in 17th and Hartley in 19th after he failed to set a representative time due to yellow flags earlier in the session.
With two incidents in two races, Gasly probably said it best trying to heed a lesson from the qualifying near miss. "We need to keep a bigger gap between our two cars."