Carlos Sainz has blamed the “unacceptable” factor of oil from a broken down car ahead of the drivers’ parade for causing the incidents at the first corner of the 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix.
The start of the race saw several drivers spinning, including Sainz, with the Spaniard careering into Lewis Hamilton and falling down the running order.
He recovered to earn sixth come the end of the race, but afterwards it was clear he was unhappy with proceedings before lights out, with one of the cars for the drivers’ parade breaking down and leaving a trail of oil on the grid:
“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, because it is not fair that all the oil was on the inside line,” Sainz said to the press.
“Apart from the dirty track already being there, on top of that, we put cars that are leaking oil into the track one hour before the race – it’s unacceptable. That probably caused a lot of the crashes into turn one.
“I just touched the brake, not even hit it and the tyres were locked. I didn’t even brake that late, I braked around the 100 metre board but arriving 100kph slower than on a quali lap. The cold tyres probably also played a role. It was absolutely shocking, lap one, and I think we all struggled.”
Sainz reflects on comeback
Sainz fought back to P6 come the chequered flag, putting a relatively positive spin on his race weekend after it had started in such infamous circumstances involving a manhole cover.
“After lap one and being nearly dead last to come back for a P6 was definitely a good comeback and damage limitation,” Sainz added. “I did everything I could. It was an issue also with the graining in traffic, it was almost impossible not to open the graining following other cars.
“We couldn’t overtake people because of trying to protect the engine. We also had to protect the tyres with the graining. So it was never going to be an easy race, an easy comeback. So to make it all the way back from nearly dead last to be P6 has to be a good day.”