McLaren: Sainz “either didn’t know Piastri was there or just drove into him” at F1 Belgian GP start

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Spa-Francorchamps saw a turbulent start for two drivers starting inside the top 5 on Sunday.

Carlos Sainz and Oscar Piastri were involved in a incident at the first corner, where they came into contact while the Spanish driver was trying to overtake Lewis Hamilton’s car. The Ferrari driver squeezed Piastri and the Aussie had nowhere to go but the wall.

This resulted in Piastri having to retire, unable to continue in the race due to broken steering. Although the Spanish driver solidered on, he later retired due to the sidepod damage sustained in the incident.

McLaren Team Principal Andrea Stella was asked the reason for Piastri’s retirement, following the crash.

“It looks like the steering system is broken. I actually haven’t checked myself if it’s outboard or inboard, but it’s broken and obviously there was no way to continue.”

Stella discussed the incident, stating Sainz just drove towards the MCL60 of the Aussie and left Piastri no room.

“I brifely took a look with Oscar [Piastri] at the incident and it looks like, to be honest, Carlos [Sainz] kind of either didn’t know that Oscar was there or, because he needed to avoid the car ahead [Lewis Hamilton’s car], just drove into Oscar and there was a wall limiting the space available.

So yeah, big shame, big shame.”

The collision was ruled as a racing incident by the FIA stewards, who did not deem it necessary to apply a penalty.

Stella expressed his confidence in the stewards’ analysis and subsequent decisions, but emphasised that, in any case, the race eventually came to an end for both drivers.

“Let me just say that we trust the stewards in this respect. They look at things and at these situations with a lot of care, so I think there is not point in arguing one millimetre more or less.

“We trust their operations, we trust their judgement. It doesn’t change the outcome. Carlos got his damage as well, he needed to retire. It’s a bit of learning for everyone and we move on.”

Photo credit: McLaren Racing