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Sainz reveals what caused early-race problems and retirement

Carlos Sainz has shed some light on why he struggled so much in the early stages of the Australian Grand Prix, before making a driver error that forced him out of the race.

Ferrari's Carlos Sainz was left to watch his teammate Charles Leclerc win the Australian Grand Prix, after the Spaniard retired from the race early on due to a driving error. Having qualified in ninth after an unfortunately-timed red flag ruined his first run in Q3, and a mistake scuppered his final attempt, Sainz's weekend went from bad to worse as he bogged down when the race got underway. Plummeting to the rear of the field, Sainz was attempting to fight back when he carried too much speed into the high-speed chicane on Lap 3. Losing control over the grass, he was lucky to avoid being hit by a rival as his car came to rest in the gravel facing the wrong direction. The Safety Car was deployed while he climbed out, the only injury being to his pride.

Sainz's steering wheel woes

A disconsolate Sainz later explained that he felt he was starting the race on the back foot due to a change of steering wheel moments before the lights went out. "We had another problem with the steering wheel with some switches not working," Sainz told Viaplay after the race. "We had to change the steering wheel, but the steering wheel was not well-positioned for the start and it caused me [to go into] anti-stall twice because of this." As a result, Sainz overstepped the boundaries of grip as he attempted to make up for the bad start, and held his hands up for his driving mistake. "Obviously, [starting on] the back foot with the Hard [tyre], [I was] trying to risk, trying to make a comeback, I misjudged the grip and I made a mistake – a driver mistake, which I haven't done in a while," he admitted. "[It] definitely has cost me a lot this weekend. "[The] conclusion [is] we just need to be more perfect, both from my side and from our team, and make sure that we are in the fight next time."

RESULTS 2024 F1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix - Qualifying