Sainz blames ‘unacceptable’ oil spill for opening corner carnage
By Mat Coch
Monday 20th November, 2023 - 9:55am
Carlos Sainz has branded a pre-race oil spill as “unacceptable,” suggesting it triggered the opening corner carnage in the Las Vegas Grand Prix.
Sainz started 12th after a 10-place grid penalty relegated him from the front-row of the grid before being embroiled in an opening corner melee.
The Spaniard was understandably livid with the situation, with his mood hardly improving following Saturday night’s race.
In the minutes before the grand prix got underway, officials worked to clean up an oil spill on the left-hand side of the starting grid, a result of the classic cars used for the drivers’ parade.
“I saw a lot of oil from the cars that we used to do the drivers’ parade, which is another thing for the FIA to look at,” Sainz observed.
“I think that it’s not fair. All the oil was on the inside line.
“Apart from the dirty track already being there, in front of all that we put cars that are leaking oil into the track one hour before the race.
“It is, again, unacceptable.
“That probably caused a lot of the crashes into Turn 1.”
At the start of the race, Sainz started from the left-hand side of the grid and was one of a host of drivers to strike trouble.
The Ferrari driver slid wide, tagging Lewis Hamilton, while ahead of him, Fernando Alonso spun on his own.
Valtteri Bottas and Sergio Perez also came unstuck, the latter damaging his front wing as the field was skittled.
“I just hit the brakes, and I had a lot of dust from the oil, and I just had no grip,” Sainz said of his opening turn incident.
“Fernando also spun, you know, drivers with a lot of experience and just finding zero grip.
“So unfortunate for everyone, but at the same time, you could never have expected it.
“You never expect it to be so bad,” he added.
“I just touched the brake, not even hit it, and the tyres were locked.
“I didn’t even brake that late; I was around the 100-metre board but arriving 100kph slower than my quali lap.
“Yeah, the cold tyres probably also played a role. It was an absolutely shocking Lap 1, and I think we all struggled.”
Having dropped to 18th following his early dramas, Sainz recovered to sixth at the chequered flag, crossing the line seventh but gaining a place courtesy of a five-second penalty for George Russell.
His performance came despite being told to cool the car down or risk a retirement in the early stages as he worked his way back through the field.
“It was never going to be an easy race, an easy comeback,” Sainz said.
“To make it all the way back from nearly dead last, to be P6, has to be a good day.”