Aston Martin protests Sainz’s Chinese GP qualifying result

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Aston Martin has lodged a protest against the results of Saturday’s Chinese Grand Prix qualifying results arguing that Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz should not have been allowed to further part in the session following his stoppage in Q2.

Sainz went wide at Shanghai’s final corner while on a flyer, spun and brushed the wall, damaging his front wing.

A red flag was subsequently deployed but Sainz was eventually able to fire up his car and return to the pits, where his Ferrari crew undertook the necessary repairs in time to complete Q2 and his safe passage into Q3.

However, the Scuderia’s actions caught the attention of Aston Martin which invoked Article 39.6 of the F1 sporting regulations.

“Any driver whose car stops on the track during the qualifying session or the sprint qualifying session shootout will not be permitted to take any further part in that session,” the article states.

The rule aims to prevent drivers from receiving outside help, from marshals or a tow truck, to rejoin a session halted by a red flag. However, the article clearly doesn't cover a situations where a driver resumes driving on their own.

Representatives from both Aston Martin and Ferrari are scheduled to meet with FIA stewards at 6:00 pm local time at the Shanghai circuit to discuss this matter.

Should the stewards opt to strip Sainz of his P7 qualifying time, Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll – who was the first driver to miss out on a spot in Q3 – would directly benefit from such a decision as he would move up to P10 on Sunday’s grid.

“I just did a simple mistake, hit the inside kerb a bit too hard, that threw me a bit off line, touched the gravel on the exit, clipped the gravel and spun,” said Sainz as he explained his light crash.

“Then right in the last moment before hitting the wall I managed to turn the wheel a bit and crash in a better angle than what I was. In the direction that I was going, probably this saved the day, because it was looking bad at one point.

“From there on, did a very strong lap in Q2 to recover from that moment for the confidence more or less back, if you can call it like that, and put together some decent laps.”

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