“Ran me off the track”: Carlos Sainz comments on Lewis Hamilton incident in Spanish GP

F1 Grand Prix of Spain
Carlos Sainz of Spain and Ferrari waves to the crowd on the drivers parade prior to the F1 Grand Prix of Spain at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on June 23, 2024 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)

Carlos Sainz was unhappy with the way Lewis Hamilton raced him during the 2024 Spanish GP in Barcelona. Speaking to onsite media, the Ferrari driver reckoned he was forced off track by the Briton and claimed it was not according to the rules.

Amidst many of his complaints during the race, Carlos Sainz was unhappy with the Mercedes champion’s on-track tactics. On lap 19 of the race, the Spanish driver was side-by-side with the Briton as both battled for P6. At the time, Lewis Hamilton was trailing in P7 and waiting for an opportunity to get past.

As the duo was close to the DRS zone, the British champion saw a gap and seized the opportunity to get past. However, when Carlos Sainz tried to reclaim the position, he got squeezed off the track. After the incident, Sainz was heard asking his engineer to report it to the FIA, but the stewards did not investigate the incident. The Spanish driver felt that the Briton did not leave him enough room and forced him wide.

Describing his race, Carlos Sainz claimed he had a good start but their strategy did not pay dividends in terms of results. He claimed a podium was a possibility but the hard tires he was on were not quick enough towards the end.

Asked why he was unhappy with Hamilton’s style of racing him, Carlos Sainz said:

"No, I felt like he ran me off the track and I was half a car length ahead and normally the rule this year says that if you're ahead around the outside they need to give you space, if you have half a car ahead. So that's normally what the stewards have ruled this year. So I was trying to benefit from that rule. Because that's how they've ruled up until now. So yeah, I'm not saying he was racing hard or not hard. Just trying to apply the rule that the stewards have applied all season.”

Giving his first thoughts on the race, he added:

“Yeah, we had a good start to the race and we were, I think, on our way to fight for that podium. But yeah clearly the call of stopping early and I'm going to the undercut route and anyway on a medium hard today didn’t pay off. These tires were just too slow today and yeah everyone else that went on the soft medium soft were clearly faster. So yeah, just didn’t pay off."

Carlos Sainz claims the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is Ferrari's "bogey track"

Carlos Sainz claimed the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya has always been a circuit where Ferrari has struggled. The Spaniard suggested that China, Suzuka, and Barcelona remain some of the tracks where the long high-speed corners are their weakness.

He also agreed with his teammate Charles Leclerc’s assessment of their performance, where the Monegasque claimed that the feeling in the car was good but they lacked pace. Asked if there were any lessons from Spain, Carlos Sainz said:

“Yeah, we were behind them. I think it's a fair assessment. Obviously, tight margins in Quali. But then in the race, I think I mirrored a bit what Russell did, and I was a tenth or two too slower. And Charles did what Hamilton did and was one or two-tenths slower. So then obviously, Red Bull and McLaren were clearly a step ahead. So yeah, not our best weekend. This was the track where we struggled the most last year too, so that's kind of our hope. That it is just a bogey track for us and that there would be other tracks [where] we would be a bit more competitive. Competitive enough to fight for wins with Red Bull and McLaren? I don't know, but more competitive for sure.”

Asked if there was a specific aspect of the track that did not suit the Ferrari, Carlos Sainz said:

“For me the high-speed nature of the track and the long combine. We seem to be always struggling on its long corners like China here or Suzuka, you know the long combine when you spend a lot of time in combine plus the high-speed corners. That's where we were weak last year, where we are still on the weak side this year, not as weak as last year but still weaker. So it still remains our priority on development.”

Carlos Sainz started sixth on the grid and finished sixth in the race, whereas Leclerc finished fifth ahead of him. Both Ferrari drivers were eclipsed by Mercedes, McLaren and Red Bull during the race.

Sainz, a former McLaren driver, is fourth in the drivers standings while his Ferrari teammate has slid down to third. In the constructors championship, Ferrari is comfortable in second place for now. However, it is going to be critical for the scarlet squad to maximize their performance in the remaining two races in the triple header.

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Edited by Prathik BR
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