F1 pundit Peter Windsor feels Carlos Sainz should have been the 'Driver of the Day' at the 2023 F1 Australian GP.
The Spaniard had one of the worst race weekends at Albert Park due to the five-second penalty for hitting Fernando Alonso. However, Windsor still believes that he drove brilliantly and should be awarded for that.
"There was Carlos Sainz doing an incredible job building on the confidence he got from qualifying, from out qualifying Charles [Leclerc], doing a really good job at the start and running right up there. And that was, I think that if any another driver would deserve driver of the day, it would be Carlos Sainz."
Of course, one of the main reasons why Carlos Sainz was not given the 'Driver of the Day' title was because he collided with Fernando Alonso, which eventually brought out another red flag. Apart from that collision, he was driving a clean and cautious race.
Though the collision happened on the first lap after the standing race restart, Sainz was still given the penalty by the stewards. Hence, he finished dead last in 12th.
Fernando Alonso feels the penalty given to Carlos Sainz in the 2023 F1 Australian GP was too harsh
He explained how he did not know who collided with him during the race but later learned that it was Sainz. Nonetheless, Alonso explained how these small incidents can happen in the first lap of the race or during race restarts. Hence, it was too harsh to penalize Sainz for the incident. He said:
“Obviously, I didn’t know who touched me in that moment, I just felt [it]. In lap one of the first start, someone touched me in Turn 3 and then in the last restart Carlos apparently touched me in Turn 1."
Fernando further added:
“Probably the penalty is too harsh because on lap one it is very difficult always to judge what the grip level is and I think we don’t go intentionally into another car because we know that we risk also our car and our final position."
"So sometimes you ended up in places that you wish you were not there in that moment. And it’s just part of racing. I didn’t see the replay properly, but for me, it feels too harsh."
As soon as Sainz found out that he was about to get a penalty, he urged his race engineers through the radio to tell the stewards to wait and speak with him after the race. Unfortunately, the race control did not hold back and immediately gave him the five-second penalty.