“The sport can be improved in so many ways” — Sainz on ridiculous F1 Las Vegas GP grid penalty

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Carlos Sainz had a scary start to the Las Vegas GP as he had a big incident inside the opening 10 minutes of first practice.

Driving down the long straight betweens turn 13 and turn 14, the Spaniard hit a water valve cover and his SF-23 was badly damaged.

Although Sainz was thankfully okay in the end, he explained the amount of damage it caused to the car and the monumental effort it took for his mechanics to get everything ready for FP2.

“I had a pretty big hit on my back and on my neck after the incident that you guys all saw.

“Unfortunately, obviously the chassis, the power unit, the battery, even my seat was damaged after the incident which involved a huge effort from all the mechanics and the team to put together a completely brand new car for FP2 that allowed me to complete the session.

“It was, in my opinion, a heroic effort by the team and the mechanics and I could take [part] in the session.

“We managed to do it, recover the time and focus on tomorrow.”

Sainz finished P2 in the second session that concluded at 04:00 local time, 0.517s adrift of teammate Charles Leclerc.

Ferrari have taken poles at Monza, Singapore, COTA and Mexico recently. This looks like another opportunity to do so.

“It felt good. You can clearly see this weekend we are relatively competitive.

“I think the track layout is suiting a bit more compared to the last few. We seem to be switching on well the tyres over one lap and being competitive. So I was quite excited and optimistic.”

Sadly for the 29-year-old, he will be taking a 10-place drop on Sunday as a new energy store has seen him go over his allocation for the season. The best position he can start in right now is P11.

The stewards were extremely sympathetic of the situation as it was outside the control of Sainz and Ferrari, but they had no other option but to hand out the penalty due to the strictness of the rules in place at the moment.

The two-time Grand Prix winner was understandably extremely frustrated with the scenario that presented itself.

“Unfortunately as the session finished, the team communicated to me that I was taking a 10-place grid penalty for something that I have no fault and the team has no fault.”

“Obviously this has changed completely my mindset and obviously my opinion on the weekend and how the weekend is going to go from now on.

“You can obviously imagine how disappointed I am, in disbelief with the situation and you will not see me very happy this weekend.”

Sainz continued on believing changes are required to stop drivers and teams unfairly getting punished for things that happen that they can’t control.

“What happened today for me is a very clear example of how the sport can be improved in so many ways. The FIA, teams, rules — that this could clearly be applied as force majeure for me not to take a penalty, but some way there’s always people always ways to make this situation worse for an individual. And I think in this case it’s my turn to pay the price.”

Photo Credit: Scuderia Ferrari