Carlos Sainz says FIA was ‘a bit easy on’ George Russell in US GP penalty

Michelle Foster
Carlos Sainz with his hand to his head. Austin October 2022

Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz with his hand to his head. Austin October 2022

Carlos Sainz feels George Russell deserved more than a five-second penalty for crashing into him at the United States Grand Prix and causing his retirement.

Starting from pole position, the Ferrari driver lost P1 to Max Verstappen, the Red Bull driver pulling ahead off the line.

Sainz tried to cut back only to be T-boned by Russell into Turn 1, the driver spinning and falling to the back of the field.

He retired his F1-75 shortly afterwards, the car having suffered a water leak.

The stewards ruled Russell had been responsible and gave the Mercedes driver a five-second time penalty for causing a collision.

Russell apologised to Sainz after the race but the 28-year-old is still smarting over the collision.

“Of course, it always honours the guy who does that straight away after the race,” he told Autosport.

“I always respect that [but] it doesn’t mean I am happy.

“I think the FIA also maybe were a bit easy on him for the consequences that happened.”

Although Russell held up his hand, his team boss Toto Wolff reckons it was a racing incident, one in which both drivers had a part to play given Sainz “cut in quite brutally”.

Russell has also stated he did not expect the Spaniard to cut back underneath Verstappen.

Asked if he felt he could have done anything differently, Sainz replied: “I don’t think I could have.

“I was in the middle of a battle with Max, Max went long and obviously had to brake a lot at the exit of the corner.

“We were both already getting out of the corner while George, I think, hadn’t even done the corner and bumped into me, which is a shame.

“It’s the kind of incident you expect to see more in the midfield, when there are so many cars around you. But in the top four, I’ve never seen that incident happen that often.

“That’s why I was so frustrated after the race. I obviously accepted George’s apology because it was good by him. But yeah, it was nothing I could have done.”

It was Sainz’s second retirement in two races, his sixth overall for the season.

He is now out of the fight for second place in the Drivers’ standings, down in fifth place where he is 16 points behind Russell.

“It was one of the toughest moments of the season,” he said. “Very disappointing because after doing a perfect weekend up until then, for your race to be ruined by something out of your control is really tough.

“It’s been also a few times this year, which makes it particularly frustrating to not do races because it’s what we all go to those places to do.

“But it’s how it goes sometimes in motorsport, or in life – you go through rough patches and other easier ones.

“It seems this year, everything that could happen to me, it’s happening. I hope I can get them all out of the way this year for next year to have a smooth one.”

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