Pierre Gasly suffered a near-miss when debris struck his helmet visor near his eye on the first lap of the Russian Grand Prix.
The Toro Rosso driver described how a piece of Daniel Ricciardo’s car struck him at the start.
“At turn one Daniel lost a piece of carbon which went straight into my visor,” he said. “This was really scary because I thought it was going right through and it was straight in my eye.
“It touched the visor and then came in the cockpit, so in turn four I had to take the carbon piece and throw it from the cockpit and then after that the brake just got really bad.”
“At the time I had like five tenths of a second just to see it flying and hitting the visor. It was a piece, maybe a winglet it came from contact with Daniel and someone and it came pointing towards me and straight in my right eye.
“When I saw it coming I thought ‘fuck, it’s going through the visor’ and fortunately the visor is really strong because it hit it and fell down in the cockpit.”
Gasly said the incident could have been worse if he had been at a quicker point on the circuit. “I don’t know for sure [but] the speed has an effect on the impact.
“At the time I was coming out of turn two so I wasn’t going that fast so I don’t know if maybe the speed is a problem with it. Luckily it wasn’t as big as I felt it would have been at 300[kph].”
The FIA announced earlier this year it will mandate a new, stronger helmet specification from the 2019 F1 season. “The visor seems to be pretty strong but maybe we need to keep trying to improve the thickness of the visor,” said Gasly.
@HazelSouthwell contributed to this article.
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