Carlos Sainz issues Las Vegas GP health update after ‘pretty big spinal hit’

Carlos Sainz was hit with a 10-place grid penalty for the 2023 Las Vegas GP, adding insult to injury

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Carlos Sainz insisted he’s still able to race in the 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix despite taking a heavy hit to his back and neck in FP1 when his Ferrari drove over a loose manhole cover.

The Las Vegas Strip Circuit had been live for just nine minutes when Sainz suffered damage that fatally damaged his battery, meaning he gets a 10-place grid penalty for the race despite being at no fault for the incident.

He came back strong for FP2 though, finishing second at half a second behind pacesetting teammate Charles Leclerc.

“I’m OK,” Sainz told the media. “I had a pretty big hit on my back and neck after the incident.

“Unfortunately, the chassis, power unit, battery and seat were damaged after the incident, which involved a huge effort from all of the mechanics and team to put together a brand-new car for FP2 that allowed me to complete the session.

“In my opinion it was a heroic effort by the team and mechanics so I could take part, we managed to do it and recover the time and focus on tomorrow.”

Sainz ‘too disappointed’ to look ahead to Las Vegas GP

Carlos Sainz enters turn 14 in free practice for the 2023 Las Vegas GP | Ferrari Spa

Ferrari‘s strong pace in FP2 only makes the penalty even more crushing for Sainz though, as he could’ve been in the fight for pole position against the Red Bulls, who finished FP2 fourth and sixth led by Sergio Perez.

The only saving grace is the Las Vegas Strip Circuit does look like it promotes overtaking, so Sainz should be able to battle to a decent points finish or even the podium as Ferrari continue to fight Mercedes for second place in the constructors’ championship.

“Yes, there will be opportunities,” Sainz added. “But right now I am just too disappointed with the outcome and I don’t want to talk too much about the future. That changed completely my mindset and opinion on the weekend and how it’s going to go from now on.

“It felt good. You can clearly see we are relatively competitive as I think the track layout suits us a bit more compared to the last few races. We seem to be switching on the tyres well over one lap and being competitive, so I was quite excited and optimistic.”

Adam Dickinson
Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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