Carlos Sainz says there was nothing that would have indicated his Ferrari engine was at risk after retiring from a sure podium finish at the 2022 Austrian Grand Prix in spectacular fashion.
The Spaniard was closing in on Max Verstappen for second as the Scuderia looked to be on course for a one-two finish at the Red Bull Ring. However, disaster struck when Sainz pulled up with an engine failure, before he tried to come to a stop off track.
However, the back of the Ferrari soon erupted into flames, with Sainz forced to exit hastily despite the car still rolling backwards.
Although the Spaniard avoided injury, he didn’t hide his disappointment after missing out on what looked to be a certain podium finish.
“As soon as it happened really,” Sainz told Sky Sports F1 after the race when asked when he knew there was a problem.
“There was no feedback coming from the engine that this was about to happen.
“I’m a bit lost for words because it’s obviously a big loss of points and a huge result for the team. I think it would have been an easy one-two today.”
Sainz heartbroken over missed opportunity
The result leaves Sainz fourth in the Drivers’ Standings, 18 points back of Sergio Perez, who also retired on Sunday.
Sainz admits dropping so many points, which would have helped him and Ferrari close the gap to Max Verstappen and Red Bull, is a difficult pill to swallow given the pace advantage shown by the Scuderia at the Red Bull Ring.
“The pace was there, the degradation was very low on our car,” Sainz said. “We were fast. I will take it and turn the page as soon as possible.
“It is more difficult to take because we were about to cut the points [gap] to the leaders of the championship, both Max and Red Bull. We were about to get a very big result for the team and one of the cars DNF’ed.
“It’s heartbreaking, but we need to keep pushing and turn the page. It’s still a long season ahead.”