Surprise Qatar Grand Prix drama left Carlos Sainz in ‘impossible’ situation

Michelle Foster
Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz's garage empty bar the car ahead of the Qatar GP.

Carlos Sainz missed the Qatar GP due to a fuel leak.

Relegated to the sidelines with a fuel system leak, Carlos Sainz said that was “pretty depressing” especially as Ferrari only discovered the problem two hours before the start in Qatar.

Sainz was expected to line up 12th on the Lusail grid with the Spaniard hoping to overturn his qualifying woes and fight for a solid points-scoring finish.

Alas, it was not to be with Ferrari announcing before the race that he wouldn’t take his spot on the grid as they’d discovered a fuel leak.

Carlos Sainz: Motorsport is cruel sometimes

It was reportedly one that the team missed earlier in the weekend as they had not run high enough fuel to spot the problem sooner.

Despite his mechanics being seen hard at work as they tried to fix the problem in time for the race, the team ultimately decided that a timely repair was not possible.

“Due to a fuel system issue on his car, Carlos will not take part in the Qatar GP,” Ferrari said in a short statement.

Sainz was gutted.

“Would’ve been nice to take part for sure and see what could’ve happened because it’s a different race to what we are used to normally,” said the 29-year-old.

“Impossible to have seen it before with the fuel levels that we have run this week. It’s a pity.

“[It’s] obviously pretty depressing to find out two hours before the race that you’re not even going to be able to take part after all the preparation that goes into an F1 weekend.

“Motorsport is cruel sometimes and today we got to taste the worst part of it. That’s how it is and we focus on the next five [races].”

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Scoring just three points with his P6 in Saturday’s Sprint race, Sainz’s team-mate Charles Leclerc closed the gap to just eight points with five races remaining.

With the knowledge that he could have recovered to a solid points position in the race, Sainz is aware of the championship consequences that may come in the final rounds.

“It’s not a great situation for sure,” Sainz said before the race. “Today we will lose a big amount of points and opportunities.

His team boss Fred Vasseur joined the Spaniard in his frustration.

“It was too late to change something, but it’s a shame,” the Frenchman told Sky Sports. “It’s a shame because he was in a good momentum after Monza.”

Sainz finished third at Monza, his first podium of this season, before going on to win the Singapore Grand Prix and then adding a P6 to his tally in Japan.

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