Toro Rosso ace Carlos Sainz experienced a chaotic Russian Grand Prix, that saw him collect some debris at the start, lose power, and receive a 10-second stop-and-go penalty after battling with Renault’s Jolyon Palmer.
Lining up 11th on the grid, the Spaniard had a solid getaway but was collateral damage in the opening-lap tussle. Sainz explains how his race unravelled from that moment onwards.
“In Turn 2 there was this clash just in front of me between [Daniil] Kvyat and [Sebastian] Vettel, and I picked up a part of Kvyat’s front wing,” the 21-year-old said.
“It went in to my radiator and sidepod and from the exit of Turn 2 until the safety car came out I had no power from the engine. It went in to protection mode or whatever.
“I had to do 1000 switch changes to get it to work without misfires but 70 horsepower down. So my first 12 laps of the race on the supersoft was without aerodynamic - like 40 or 50 points less of downforce - I don’t know how much but two seconds per lap slower downforce and no power on the engine.
“So we decided to stop early to get rid of whatever was there on the car, but this compromised the rest of the race... Still, it went back to normal. I managed to save the tyres a lot at the beginning because I knew I had to go very long.
“Then I found Palmer, I passed him, then I didn't see him on the right and apparently I got a penalty of 10 seconds when I’ve never seen a penalty because of that with anyone. The race was just a disaster from then on.”
Sainz’ sanction does seem harsh especially when considering that Sauber's Felipe Nasr and Manor's Pascal Wehrlein were involved in a similar spat at Turn 2 a few laps earlier, with the stewards taking no action in that instance. The former Formula Renault 3.5 Series champion admits he is at a loss to understand their ruling.
“First of all at the exit of Turn 2 if you want to pass you go on the inside for Turn 3 but [Palmer] decided to go round the outside and I was never expecting him.
“I was looking in my left mirror to see him, suddenly he loses the car on the dirty part of the exit of Turn 2, and we crash. Then is when I felt ‘Oh there’s someone on my right, he’s not on my left’.
“I think the stewards interpreted that I forced him off the track. But anyway, a 10-second penalty for this kind of accident, for me, you cannot even race anyone.”