“Something failed” on the car, according to Carlos Sainz as he became the first retiree in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on Sunday.
Ferrari confirmed that it was a hydraulic issue that ended his race, with a ‘grinding’ heard on his car as he was forced to stop and retire from the race.
The Ferrari driver had been running fourth on the road after holding position at the start, and had been dropping behind Max Verstappen in the early stages.
But his stricken car was found at a standstill on the exit road at Turn 4 in Baku, sat stationery as the rest of the field filed past, before Sainz reported “something failed” on his SF-75.
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Replays saw Sainz head around Turn 3 as normal, before a noise from his car saw him go straight on and bail out of Turn 4 on the ninth lap of the race, with a grinding sound that brought his car to a halt.
Sainz had been disappointed with his qualifying performance, admitting he “overstepped” on his final run in Q3 as he slipped from provisional pole to the second row – but his third retirement of the season hampers his championship chances even further.
After the race, Sainz said the 2022 season was “definitley not going my way.”
“The hydraulics went and that was it,” he told Sky Sports. “It’s a shame because I have taken a lot of care of my tyres in the first nine laps, opening a bit of a gap to get some fresh air in the tyres and I was about to start my race, start pushing and move towards the front.
“It’s a bad day for the team. But we need to make sure we stay together that we stay positive. Better days will come but so far the 2022 season is definitley not going my way.”
Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc lost the lead at the start of the race after locking up at Turn 1, and then had to retire himself on lap 20 after smoke was spewing from the back of his car.
Two further Ferrari-powered cars also retired with what seemed to be engine issues, with Zhou Guanyu of Alfa Romeo and Haas driver Kevin Magnussen also having had their races ended early.
The double DNF for Ferrari was compounded by Red Bull inflicting maximum damage on their championship rivals, with Max Verstappen taking a dominant victory ahead of Sergio Perez in Baku, with Red Bull earning maximum points to extend their Constructors’ Championship lead to 80 points.