Sainz believes it “probably would have meant another win” had he not made his stop a lap before race-defining Safety Car at F1 Miami GP

Photo Credit: Scuderia Ferrari
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Carlos Sainz, who came home P4 in Miami before a time penalty saw him drop to 5th following contact with Oscar Piastri, had a lightning launch from the line moving into second before turn 1. But all his good work was undone as the Red Bull of Sergio Perez steamed in, locking up his brakes and almost causing a crash. 

This allowed both Charles Leclerc and Oscar Piastri to take advantage, shuffling Sainz back down to fourth.

“First of all like they said in the old school days, Checo came like a torpedo at the start and nearly took all of us with him. I had to take avoiding action.

“I was P2 at the start and I came out of turn 1 in 4th. That already put us on the back foot because it’s not the same racing from P2 than racing from P4.”

Sainz pitted on lap 27 from P2, one lap before the safety car that was brought out for a collision between Kevin Magnussen and Logan Sargeant at turn 3.

He was frustrated with the timing of the Safety Car, counting it as a stroke of misfortune on his side.

“I saved my tyres, extended and we missed the Safety Car by one lap, which would have meant another win probably.

The Spaniard believed that was the move that cost him the race win as Lando Norris, who he was ahead of before the pit stops, inherited the lead.

Following the Safety Car restart on lap 33, Sainz found himself frustrated behind Oscar Piastri’s McLaren. 

The first incident between the pair came a mere lap later after Sainz attempted an overtake around the outside into Turn 11, which Piastri reacted to by aggressively defending and squeezing the Spaniard off track, making contact as the Ferrari tried to rejoin.

“This meant another bit of frustration and the frustration with Oscar for running me wide off the track and having contact there.”

Piastri kept the position which left Sainz furious, demanding to his race engineer that,“he has to give the position, tell him to give me the position”. 

This all bubbled up to an incident on lap 39, when going into Turn 17, Sainz threw his Ferrari up the inside, opening his steering mid corner to compromise Piastri’s exit. The Australian did not back down and they made contact, damaging Piastri’s front wing which forced him to make a pit stop to replace it. The Spaniard was hit with a 5-second penalty for it post-race.

“Then I realised it was time to be aggressive because everyone was being aggressive today and if I needed to get a move on Oscar, you could see that we were struggling on the straights this weekend, and I needed to send more one down the inside. I did it.”

This is not the first time the two have been in an incident having come to blows in COTA and Spa last year.

A worried Sainz thought he had damage from the contact asking his engineer to “check the downforce” only for his team to report back “car is okay”.

From there he had clean air to catch the cars in front, which he was doing, but not fast enough as he finished the Miami Grand Prix P4, less than two seconds from his teammate who was third.

“I had good pace towards the end, catching the guys in front, Max and Charles, but it was too late. I lost too much time with Oscar.”