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Shocking moment Australian Grand Prix driver swerves into rival

Formula 3 driver Nikola Tsolov denied intentionally crashing into Alex Dunne after a shocking flashpoint at the Australian Grand Prix on Friday.

Alpine junior Tsolov was driving just behind Irish rookie Dunne – who was weaving slightly – during F3 practice.

Yet Bulgarian driver Tsolov, at turn 10, then drastically swerved right and into the side of Dunne’s car, pushing him into the wall and forcing a red flag.

The incident left pundits and fans aghast on social media, with the lead commentator on the F3 coverage quipping: “I don’t know what on earth he was thinking.”

Tsolov has since been given a three-place grid penalty by the stewards but denied it was intentional, instead insisting it was simply a “misunderstanding.”

“I was a bit confused,” Tsolov told Feeder Series afterwards.

“I arrived on a push lap and I think the MP [Dunne’s car] was weaving, so I didn’t know where to go to get past him because he was on a cool lap or something.

“I went to the left side and then I just felt a hit under my rear tyre. So I think it was just a bit of a misunderstanding, but nothing intentional from any side. I think it was just a bit unfortunate.

Formula 3 driver Nikola Tsolov (right) crashed into Alex Dunne (left) at the Australian Grand Prix (Sky Sports F1)
Formula 3 driver Nikola Tsolov (right) crashed into Alex Dunne (left) at the Australian Grand Prix (Sky Sports F1)

“I knew he was there, but then I suddenly just felt the hit. I didn’t do anything strange. I was just on the racing line. I have no intention against him. There’s nothing to win in a practice session, so I wouldn’t do something like that.”

Some users on Twitter/X insisted Tsolov should have received a race ban.

However, the stewards seemed to accept the 17-year-old’s reasoning, insisting the manoeuvre was simply misjudged and not intentional.

As well as the grid demotion, Tsolov has also had two penalty points added to his superlicence.