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Alpine drivers collide but Pierre Gasly escapes penalty and potential race ban

Pierre Gasly apologised to his Alpine team mate Ocon Esteban after veering into him in a crash that took both drivers out of the Australian Grand Prix straight after a messy restart late in the race.

However, Gasly escaped a penalty that had the potential to tip him into a race ban had he received an additional two penalty points on his superlicence.

A red flag saw the grand prix restart for a two-lap sprint to decide the winner, and a slew of cars crashed out in the first corners.

Gasly drifted across the track and pushed Ocon into the wall, leaving both cars in pieces and triggering another red flag.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen ended up winning the race after stewards decided the drivers would do a processional lap behind a safety car according to their grid positions at the second restart.

The force of Gasly’s impact rocked Ocon but he declined to blame his fellow French team mate.

“I am feeling OK, a little bit of a headache. It has been a hard hit but I will be OK,” he told reporters.

“I’m more tough than that. I will survive. But a tricky weekend.

“The chaotic restart, it could have been anyone that I collided with because there was a lot of cars going off and obviously it ended up being Pierre not leaving me much space — but no hard feelings.

“He came and apologized and as I said it could have been anyone.”

Both Alpines were well within the points when the crash happened and set to make up ground on rival teams.

But they now lie sixth in the constructors championship with eight points after three races.

“For now I’m just gutted to miss a strong result,” said Gasly.

“For us to be so close to scoring 10 points and leaving without any is a bitter one for us to take.

“I don’t even want to comment about the end.

“I’m just extremely disappointed with the outcome of the race because I gave everything out there.”

The stewards decided to take no further action, describing the incident as a “first lap racing incident”.

Gasly has ten penalty points to his name in the last 12 months with the threshold of 12 resulting in a race ban.

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