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Hill criticises Sainz for 'almost identical' move to Hamilton

Carlos Sainz was left unhappy after being handed a five-second time penalty following a collision with Fernando Alonso on the Lap 57 restart of the Australian Grand Prix, but Damon Hill believes that the stewards were right to punish the Ferrari driver.

Damon Hill has criticised Carlos Sainz for his move on the Lap 57 restart of the Australian Grand Prix that left him with a five-second time penalty. Sainz made contact with Fernando Alonso into Turn 1, which caused Alonso to subsequently spin and drop down the order. The race was then halted again due to several incidents at the restart, while the stewards handed Sainz a penalty following his incident with Alonso. Sainz was left upset about the decision, labelling it the "biggest disgrace" he had seen in the sport "for many years" , but Hill feels that the Ferrari driver only has himself to blame.

Hill: It was Sainz's mistake

"I'm sorry, but I think it was Carlos' mistake," Hill said on the F1 Nation podcast. "He went in too deep and he used up too much track, and there wasn't really much more Fernando could do to get out the way." Alonso defended Sainz over the collision , calling the penalty "too harsh" for a first lap incident. Hill, though, has drawn comparisons between Sainz's manoeuvre and the move that Lewis Hamilton made on Max Verstappen during the first start of the race. "You don't go in too deep and get yourself in a compromised position," the 1996 World Champion continued. "It was almost identical to the move Lewis did on Max, and Lewis got through."

How penalty was still allowed

At the final restart of the race, the order used was that from Lap 56, with the events of Lap 57 effectively wiped off the board. Despite this, Sainz was still punished for his collision on that lap, something that Hill has given an explanation for. "That's a good point to make – if that race never happened, then why can you get a penalty for a race that never happened?" Hill said. "But I think that they will say that anytime a car is on track, they have the right to impose a penalty. "If it's a free practice session, it doesn't count for anything else, [but] they can still apply a penalty to you."

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