Oscar Piastri weighs in on Carlos Sainz Turn 1 clash at Belgian GP

Oscar Piastri suffered his second retirement of the 2023 Formula 1 season after contact with Carlos Sainz at Spa-Francorchamps

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Oscar Piastri says his opening lap clash at the 2023 Belgian Grand Prix with Carlos Sainz at Turn 1 was a racing incident, as the McLaren driver was forced to retire due to damage.

The collision happened when Piastri looked for a move up the inside of La Source at Spa-Francorchamps. However, Sainz cut across the Australia, who looked to avoid crashing into another car following a lock-up.

Neither driver escaped unscathed, as Piastri picked up suspension damage due to clipping the wall whilst the Sainz had a hole in his sidepod, resulting in a five percent loss of downforce.

“I think it’s quite firmly in the category of a lap one incident,” Piastri said to the media. “I got a good start and got my nose alongside.

“But then we got to the braking zone and Carlos moved a bit to the right, locked-up and I had to try to avoid that a bit, then from there, to the apex, my options were quite limited with where I could go.

“I’ll look back over it and see if there was more I could have done but it’s just a shame that we’re standing here and aren’t still on track.”

Similar incidents in the past at Spa

The incident was similar to a collision between Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen at the 2019 edition of the Belgian GP, that saw the Red Bull driver suffer suspension damage and subsequently had to retire, whilst Raikkonen continued on in a stricken car.

On Sunday, Sainz lost pace due to the damage from the crash and slipped out of the points before deciding to retire on the 24th lap of the race.

As he failed to score any points, Sainz dropped below George Russell and Charles Leclerc in the standings, moving from fifth to seventh. Piastri meanwhile switched places with Esteban Ocon as the Frenchman rose to 10th in the F1 drivers’ championship.

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