Carlos Sainz says stricken McLaren should have been removed faster

Jamie Woodhouse
Carlos Sainz in the yellow for Ferrari's 75th. Italy September 2022

Carlos Sainz in the yellow for Ferrari's 75th, quirky look on his face. Italy September 2022

Carlos Sainz feels the main takeaway from Monza is that the process must be quicker when it comes to removing stranded cars.

Daniel Ricciardo’s retirement triggered the Safety Car on lap 47 of 53 at the Italian Grand Prix, the McLaren driver bringing his MCL36 to a stop at the side of the track.

That also proved to be the end of the racing action, the Safety Car leading the drivers around until Max Verstappen was released to take the chequered flag and win the grand prix.

The drab end to the race has sparked plenty of frustration, the fans in attendance making their views heard post-race, with suggestions from some within the sport that the race should have been red-flagged to allow for some racing laps at the end.

The likes of Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto and Red Bull team principal Christian Horner felt there would have been enough time for the race to restart, Charles Leclerc agreeing when Ferrari told him over the radio the race would end behind the Safety Car. “Come on, it’s clear,” he vented, referring to the fact Ricciardo’s McLaren had been taken away.

Sainz, who finished the race P4, believed the main concern of the whole situation was how long it took to get Ricciardo’s car out of the way, so expects work to be done to speed up that process.

Asked if he would have liked to see the race red-flagged, Sainz, quoted by Mundo Deportivo, said: “If I lead, no (laughs). ” If you are there in the position Charles and I were in, you prefer a red flag.

“For me, the fair compromise is not having to be there for five or six laps to get a car out. For me, we were too slow to get the car back. I don’t know if the race director could have done more.

“Letting the Safety Car go earlier to get behind Max and Charles…for me, the whole procedure was slow and we have to improve as a sport. The red flag? Yes, it’s better than today, for sure, but the fair compromise would be to be quicker to get the car out.”

Starting P18 due to a grid penalty, Sainz made lightning progress through the pack and without the arrival of the Safety Car, data was telling him he would have caught Mercedes’ George Russell on the final lap to challenge for a podium position.

And considering the mass of overtakes he had pulled off earlier in the race, while also feeling he had “nothing to lose”, Sainz said he would have absolutely attempted to pass the Mercedes driver.

“The simulation indicated I would have arrived on the last lap,” Sainz confirmed. “I can assure you if I had got there on the last lap I would have attacked, because there was nothing to lose and because I knew after 15 overtakes I knew how to attack and how to brake and what to do.

“George was on the hard tyres and I was on the softs, I had much more grip under braking…I would have attacked. But we’ll never know.”

And if the Safety Car had returned to the pit lane to allow racing action to resume, Sainz would have fancied his chances of challenging Russell, with Leclerc and Verstappen potentially in reach too.

“I think I would have been on the podium,” Sainz claimed. “Not to say I did, but with the pace I had and the new tyres – George had used ones – I think the podium was within reach and even more because I would have been in the fight with Verstappen and Charles for a couple of laps.”

Asked if he looked at this as his best race of the year, Sainz replied: “Today, yes. I was analysing the pace with the softs and I was going fast. I think I was going at a very similar pace to Charles, who I’m struggling to keep up with this year. I was the same or faster today, so I’m happy.”

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