Debris incident on opening lap had Gasly fearing the worst

© XPB 

A piece of debris thrown into his path on the opening lap of Sunday's Russian Grand Prix had Pierre Gasly fearing the worst when the scrap cleared his car's halo and hit his visor.

The Toro Rosso driver was running behind Daniel Ricciardo's Red Bull when the Aussie's front-wing was damaged in a contact with another car and debris flew directly into Gasly's face, fortunately with no consequences, but the Frenchman felt it had been a close call.

"I think Daniel lost a piece of carbon that went straight into my visor – this was really, really scary because I thought it was going through and straight in my eye," Gasly said.

"But it hit my visor and fell in the cockpit, so in Turn 4 I had to take the carbon piece and throw it from the cockpit.

"At the time I had like 0.5s to see it flying and hitting the visor. It was like a winglet that maybe came from somewhere from contact with Daniel, but it came pointing towards me and straight at my right eye.

"When I saw it coming I thought ‘Fuck it’s going through the visor’ but the visor is really strong because it just hit it and fell into the cockpit."

Gasly reckoned a tragic outcome had been avoided by the sheer strength of his visor and the fact that the incident occurred in a low-speed corner.

"The visor seems to be pretty strong. Maybe we need to keep trying to improve the thickness of the visor and try to make it as strong as possible," he explained.

"For sure the speed has an effect as well on the impact, at that time I was coming out of Turn 2 so I wasn’t so fast. So maybe the impact with it was luckily not as big as if I had been at 300km/h."

Gasly's day in Sochi went from bad to worse in the opening laps, his Toro Rosso suffering a brake failure at high speed that sent the Frenchman spinning into retirement.

"From the start it felt like the brake pedal was quite strange and I had a strange feeling with it," he said.

"A really long pedal. It got worse in the first two laps and then the pedal went completely flat and I lost the front brakes. We had to retire."

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