Sainz: Verstappen clash saved me from bigger drama

Carlos Sainz says his clash with Max Verstappen saved him from a "more dramatic" day in the Bahrain Grand Prix, as he believes a gearbox problem would have cost him a points finish anyway.

Sainz: Verstappen clash saved me from bigger drama

McLaren driver Sainz and Red Bull rival Verstappen made contact at Turn 4 early in the race as the Spaniard attempted to pass the Dutchman for fifth position.

The clash resulted in Sainz getting a puncture and needing to pit, as he dropped to the bottom of the field.

Verstappen went on to finish in fourth position, and was only stopped from scoring a likely podium by a late safety car that prevented him for overtaking the ailing Ferrari of Charles Leclerc.

McLaren retired Sainz's car with a couple of laps to go in the race, and the Spanish driver revealed a points finish would have been unlikely because of a gearbox problem he had all race long.

"I'm trying to look at the positives," said Sainz. "A good start, a good first lap, the cars in front weren't opening the gap and I could stay with the top six without problems.

"Then I don't think we would have finished in the points because my gearbox failed all throughout the race.

"We had a gearbox problem that was making us lose almost a second per lap, so if I had overtaken Verstappen I would have been fifth and then suddenly I would have had the gearbox problem, then it would have been even more dramatic."

When asked if he felt he had the pace to be on the podium, he said: "I prefer not to think about it."

Sainz labelled his clash with Verstappen as "racing", but said the Dutchman had hit him very hard.

"Well, it's racing, it's incidents. All I can say is that I started well, I did all I had to do and tried everything I had to try and I ended up worse off. It was my turn to get puncture thanks to how hard he hit me.

"The normal thing would have been that we both got a puncture and to be both out of the race. He was lucky to continue, but he hit me really hard and that was it."

Verstappen, for his part, argued Sainz probably had not seen his Red Bull.

Stewards investigated the incident and deemed no further action was required.

"He tried to go around the outside and braked late, I guess he didn't see me," Verstappen said.

"In these cars you are blind to what is happening next to you. I braked late and saw him turn into the corner, so I had to take avoiding action. We clipped wheels and it was unfortunate."

shares
comments
Leclerc: First F1 podium "lucky in unlucky situation"

Previous article

Leclerc: First F1 podium "lucky in unlucky situation"

Next article

Grosjean: First races of 2019 "copy-paste from last year"

Grosjean: First races of 2019 "copy-paste from last year"
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Event Bahrain GP
Drivers Carlos Sainz Jr.
Teams McLaren
Author Pablo Elizalde
How long can Verstappen and Hamilton keep it clean? Prime

How long can Verstappen and Hamilton keep it clean?

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have been evenly matched so far in the 2021 Formula 1 title race. Neither has been afraid to get aggressive against each other on track, teeing up an enthralling contest as the year unwinds. But how long will their battle remain clean? Jonathan Noble ponders that exact point

Formula 1
May 13, 2021
How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner Prime

How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner

The Brabham BT46B raced once, won once, then vanished – or did it? STUART CODLING reveals the story of the car which was never actually banned…

Formula 1
May 11, 2021
The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle Prime

The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle

Formula 1’s visits to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya over recent years have been met with familiar criticisms despite tweaks here and there to the track to improve racing. With the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix largely going the same way, proper solutions need to be followed to achieve F1’s wider targets

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Often described as Formula 1's laboratory, the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona gave the clearest demonstration yet of the pecking order in 2021. And it's the key discrepancies from that order which illuminate who is excelling, and who needs to hit the reset button.

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
How Red Bull's deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain Prime

How Red Bull's deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain

An aggressive first corner move from Max Verstappen appeared to have set the Red Bull driver on course for victory in the Spanish Grand Prix. But canny strategy from Mercedes - combined with the absence of Red Bull's number two from the lead group - allowed Lewis Hamilton to pull off a demoralising reversal

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull has hidden pace Prime

The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull has hidden pace

Lewis Hamilton led the way in Friday practice for the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix, but there was one major encouraging sign for Red Bull. However, making good on that gain will require Max Verstappen to avoid repeating a mistake that left him well down the FP2 order...

Formula 1
May 7, 2021
Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place Prime

Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place

Three points finishes from as many starts represents a decent opening innings on paper, but Daniel Ricciardo has endured a tough start to his McLaren career - only magnified his teammate's excellent form. Yet both he and the team have good reason to expect a turnaround soon.

Formula 1
May 6, 2021
What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors Prime

What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors

OPINION: Going up against the dominant force of Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton was always going to demand the best from Red Bull and Max Verstappen. But after making a couple more errors during the Portuguese Grand Prix, the Dutch driver showed there's a small gap he still needs to close in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight.

Formula 1
May 5, 2021