Sainz fires shots at Russell as Mercedes star explains US GP collision

Carlos Sainz commits future to Ferrari until 2024

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Ferrari star Carlos Sainz has struck out at George Russell for a collision at the United States Grand Prix that ended his race at the very first corner. The Spaniard went into the contest with high hopes after qualifying on pole, but his good work was undone just moments after the action got underway. 

Despite Ferrari’s strong pace in 2022, Sainz has had to make do with just the one win compared to Charles Leclerc’s three. That triumph came at Silverstone back in July but it looked as though another could be on the cards when he surprisingly posted the fastest lap in qualifying on Saturday. 

Sitting on the front row alongside Max Verstappen, it was the Red Bull ace who got off the line quickest and Sainz was forced into an awkward manoeuvre in the first corner of the first lap to try and fight back at the Dutchman. 

Steaming up the inside was Russell, however, and the contact from the Mercedes sent Sainz spinning into last place before Ferrari mechanics quickly decided that his Grand Prix was over. In the aftermath, an angry Sainz admitted that such ‘mistakes’ from top drivers ‘amaze’ him. 

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“I think you don’t need many words, you need the images,” he said. “They speak for themselves. I was in the middle of a fight with Max in Turn 1, then suddenly one guy who wasn’t in the battle came from nowhere and bumped into me.

“I think [my bad luck] is a combination of things. Our starts haven’t been great this year because there is an inherent problem with this car. My start wasn’t too bad compared to the Mercedes, it was Max who got a good start.

“[It’s] extremely frustrating. It amazes me that drivers in the top four make such mistakes. Compared to my DNF, [Russell’s five-second penalty was] definitely not enough. But I’m not going to evaluate penalties.”

At the time of the incident, Russell, who eventually took fifth place, insisted that Sainz had cut across and left him with nowhere to go. After the chequered flag, the Brit ‘held his hands up’ but explained that the Spaniard’s dart inside Verstappen had made contact inevitable. 

“When I was attacking Turn 1, and I saw [Sainz] was on the outside of Max, I was expecting him to try and hold it around the outside of him,” he told reporters.

“As soon as I recognised he was trying to cut back underneath Max, I’d already committed to my braking zone and contact was inevitable. If he was holding it around the outside of Max, for sure I would have been fine, as I was battling with Lewis [Hamilton], not with those cars ahead.

“As soon as you slow it down as a driver and try and cut underneath, it was difficult [for me to react]. So as I said, I hold my hands up to that, but as a driver, you need to be aware of the possibilities of cars ahead [doing that]. [There’s not] a lot more to say.”

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