‘He’s just f***ing hit me man!’ Lance Stroll and Nicholas Latifi rage at each other after spectacular smash during Australian Grand Prix qualifying with both cars WRECKED
- Saturday’s Australian Grand Prix qualifying was suspended after a big crash
- Nicholas Latifi and Lance Stroll saw their cars damaged following a collision
- Latifi let Stroll through but the Aston Martin driver appeared to abort his lap
- Williams man then tried to re-overtake on the inside but Stroll turned into him
- Both drivers blamed each other over team radio as qualifying was suspended
- Race stewards plan to investigate the incident following the session
Nicholas Latifi and Lance Stroll were involved in a spectacular crash during qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix which led to both turning the airwaves blue.
Both the Williams of Latifi and Stroll’s Aston Martin suffered serious damage in the clumsy all-Canadian collision during Q1 in Melbourne and a fierce blame game ensued.
Latifi pulled onto the track exit at turn four to let Stroll through for his only hot lap of the session after the Aston Martin crew needed extra time to prepare the car.
Stroll then slowed down, Latifi accelerated to go back past him on the inside but Stroll moved over, sending the Williams spiralling into the wall.
Lance Stroll steps out of his Aston Martin after a clumsy collision with the Williams of Nicholas Latifi put them both out of qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne
The damage is visible to the front-right wheel of Stroll’s Aston Martin after he turned into the Williams of Latifi as it passed during the first session of qualifying
The wreckage of Latifi’s Williams is cleared from the track during a 15-minute delay
The rear end of the Williams was completely smashed up, while Stroll had to stop with damage to his front-right wheel.
Latifi raged on his team radio: ‘I don’t understand what he was doing. He wasn’t looking in his mirrors. The f***ing car’s destroyed!’
Stroll was equally angry, shouting: ‘Latifi man, what the f*** was he doing, he’s just f***ing hit me man!’
Qualifying was delayed by 15 minutes as the two wrecked cars were towed from the track and the debris swept up but the controversy isn’t over with stewards set to investigate more fully after the session.
Latifi’s car is lifted away after suffering serious damage to the front end following the spin
Both drivers were forced out of the qualifying session with repairs needed before the race
Canadian driver Latifi later told on Sky Sports: ‘For me it’s quite clear. I’ve just seen a video before coming here – I just went to go back wide to prepare my out lap, and he just turned into me once I was alongside him.
‘I let him through because he was pushing to open a lap, or so I was told. Then I saw he aborted the lap, so I wanted to start my own preparation lap so I went back by him.
‘Obviously there was a big gap and once I got past him, for whatever reason he decided to turn.’
Stroll told Sky: ‘We were on a cool lap. I saw the video and he went to try and pass me all of a sudden in a very awkward part of the circuit, it falls off to the right and then the left.
‘Very awkward. He was all of a sudden trying to come by me and the circuit gets very narrow and we made contact.
‘I was watching for the cars behind me, the circuit falls off to the right. It was a very awkward situation at an awkward part of the track.’
On Sky’s race commentary, Martin Brundle said: ‘I think Latifi was getting out of the way, letting cars through but there is nothing fast coming.
Stroll out on the track in his Aston Martin in qualifying before his collision with Latifi
Latifi, who crashed twice at the Saudi Grand Prix last time out, before his latest incident
‘He’s let the Aston through and then as he’s gone to retake that… boom.
‘It’s a misunderstanding, a very expensive misunderstanding for both teams. What an expensive shunt.’
It continued Latifi’s nightmare start to the season after he crashed both in qualifying and the main race at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in Jeddah.
In a further twist, the 15-minute delay helped Stroll’s team-mate Sebastian Vettel. It didn’t look like his car would be ready to get out on track but the extra time allowed the engineers to make final repairs.
Ultimately though, Vettel wasn’t able to set a quick enough time when he did get out on track to make Q2.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism