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Carlos Sainz

Sainz 'in disbelief' over Las Vegas grid penalty

Carlos Sainz's weekend in Las Vegas went from bad to worse when he was handed a grid penalty for fitting new parts after his car was damaged by a manhole cover during FP1.

Sainz Las Vegas
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Carlos Sainz has stated that he is “in disbelief” over the grid penalty he was issued for the Las Vegas Grand Prix.

Sainz's Ferrari car sustained heavy damage in the opening minutes of the first practice session when he ran over a loose drain cover.

The session was subsequently abandoned as F1 undertook a track inspection ahead of FP2, while Ferrari requested the installation of fresh engine components outside of the penalty-free pool.

However, the stewards highlighted that there is nothing written in the regulations to allow for an exception, with Sainz handed a 10-place grid drop after Ferrari fitted his third Energy Store of the year.

Sainz has questioned why force majeure couldn't be applied to the situation as the damage was inflicted by substandard track conditions.

“What happened today is a very clear example of how this sport can be improved in so many ways,” he said.

“This could've been applied as force majeure for me to not take a penalty but people always find ways to make the situation worse for an individual.

“In this case, it's my turn to pay the price.”

Sainz hails Ferrari for car recovery

Sainz managed to return to the track for the start of FP2, which was delayed by two and a half hours.

The Spaniard commended the work carried out by the Ferrari team to repair his broken car.

“I had a pretty big hit on my back and my neck in the incident that you all saw,” he reflected.

“Unfortunately the chassis, the Power Unit, the battery and even my seat were damaged after the incident.

“A huge effort from the mechanics who put together a completely brand new car for FP2 that allowed me to complete the session, which was, in my opinion, a heroic effort. We managed to recover the time and focus on tomorrow.”

Sainz confident over Ferrari pace

Sainz ended FP2 in second place behind team-mate Charles Leclerc, suggesting that Ferrari has strong pace around the Las Vegas Strip Circuit.

However, Sainz has admitted that it is difficult for him to stay positive with a grid drop looming for the upcoming Grand Prix.

“It felt good, on top of that you can see this weekend we are relatively competitive as I think the track layout is suiting us more compared to the last few [circuits],” Sainz said.

“We seem to be switching the tyres well over one lap and be competitive. So I was excited and optimistic. Unfortunately, when the session finished the team communicated that I was taking a 10-place gird penalty for something that I had no fault and the team had no fault.

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

“You can obviously see how disappointed and in disbelief I am with the situation. You won't see me happy this weekend.”

F1 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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