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Formula 1

‘I don’t feel well to speak’ – Sainz’s penalty anguish

by Valentin Khorounzhiy, Scott Mitchell-Malm
3 min read

Ferrari Formula 1 driver Carlos Sainz says the penalty that relegated him from fourth to 12th in the Australian Grand Prix is “the most unfair I’ve seen in my life”.

The Spaniard was sanctioned for his role in the chaos of the effectively voided late-race red flag restart, as he tagged the right rear of Fernando Alonso’s Aston Martin up ahead coming out of Turn 1.

This came after Alonso had been squeezed to the left by Lewis Hamilton on approach to the final corner, and Sainz – who had fought off Pierre Gasly under braking – ended up tapping the Aston Martin into a spin, with Alonso making light contact with the barriers.

Because further incidents then led the race to be red-flagged before leader Max Verstappen even completed a single sector, the race order was effectively restored to what it was before the restart, meaning the damage to Alonso’s race was nullified.

But before the final restart, this time completed with the race effectively neutralised until the chequered flag, Sainz was assessed a speedy five-second penalty.

Follow reaction to the Australian GP – including Haas’s decision to protest the result – on The Race Live Hub

This proved ruinous under the conditions of the race, Sainz being relegated to 12th and last of the finishers after taking the chequered flag.

The Spaniard had anticipated this outcome. “No! It cannot be, Ricky,” he told race engineer Riccardo Adami after being told of the sanction.

“Do I deserve to be out of the points? No. No! It’s unacceptable. Tell them. It’s unacceptable.

“They need to wait until the race is finished and discuss with me.”

When told ‘copy, he continued to plead: “No! Please. Please-please-please-please. [Ask them] to wait and discuss with me. Clearly the penalty is not deserved, it is too severe.”

Speaking to print media after the race, Sainz said: “I think it’s the most unfair penalty I’ve seen in my life, so before talking to you I’m saying really bad stuff and bad words.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Australian Grand Prix Race Day Melbourne, Australia

“I prefer to go back to the stewards, have a conversation with them and maybe I can come back and talk to the media because now I honestly cannot do it.

“It’s too unfair and I don’t feel well to speak.”

He gave a very similar interview to F1 TV, saying he was “too angry, too disappointed” to speak and making a swift exit with the intention to get the penalty reversed.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Australian Grand Prix Race Day Melbourne, Australia

“I just needed to come to the TV pen because if I didn’t come, they’d put me another penalty.

“Sorry, I prefer not to talk. I’ll come back later after going to the stewards.”

Sainz’s penalty means Ferrari leaves Melbourne with zero points, with team-mate Charles Leclerc having exited the race as early as the opening lap after a collision with Lance Stroll.

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