Carlos Sainz mistake brings out red flags during Chinese GP qualifying

Thomas Maher
Carlos Sainz, Ferrari, 2024 Chinese Grand Prix.

An error from Carlos Sainz brought out the red flags during the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix qualifying session.

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz crashed midway during qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix, bringing out the red flags.

The Spaniard made a critical error during the Q2 section of qualifying, ending up in the barriers on the main straight of the Shanghai International Circuit.

Carlos Sainz error triggers Chinese GP red flags

Sainz was pushing hard midway during qualifying, setting off on a flying lap when he ran a little wide through the final corner and touched the higher part of the kerb.

The rear of the Ferrari got loose, and spun through 180 degrees before sliding sideways backwards into the barriers on the opposite side of the track as the right-hand side of his car made contact with the barrier.

The incident brought out the red flags, halting the qualifying session, before Sainz managed to extricate himself from the grass and get his damaged car back to the pits – the front wing being the most visible damage on his Ferrari.

Jumping on the team radio, Sainz said he “couldn’t give feedback on the suspension”, and asked to be told if he could go faster in order to ensure the most time possible to repair the car.

The timer stopped with 6 minutes and 44 seconds left in Q2 and, with Sainz getting back to the pits, Ferrari were able to get the car patched up to send Sainz back out on track to complete qualifying – no rules having been breached as Sainz didn’t require any assistance to get back to the pits.

The Spaniard went on to qualify in fifth place, rescuing his weekend after it had looked gloomy in prospect when he brought out the red flags.

Speaking after the session, Sainz was asked whether he’d found it difficult to control his adrenaline after such an incident.

“Not easy at all,” he told Sky F1.

“I had a big moment there, obviously right at the last moment, I managed to crash in the right angle.”

Sainz was able to take preventative action to ensure he didn’t cause any session-ending damage to his Ferrari.

“I turned the wheel a bit to make sure I didn’t crash straight with the rear tyre, and be more sideways,” he said.

“This probably saved the day.

“Obviously, from there on, high heart rate and adrenaline, but I managed to put together a very strong lap later in Q2 and recover well from that moment.”

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With Sainz and Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc having fought like cats during the Sprint race, resulting in a little tension as Leclerc said he felt his teammate had gone “over the line”, Sainz said he and the Monégasque would have a chat to work together strategically in the Grand Prix itself.

“That’s what we always do,” he said.

“We will try the same, hopefully it’s a long race tomorrow which means we can put together a stronger race than quali.

“Clearly over one lap, these three cars ahead of us were quicker, there was nothing we could have done to beat them. Now it’s a matter if over 50-something laps we can show a better race pace and get in front of them, which will not be easy.”

Read Next: 2024 Chinese Grand Prix – Qualifying results (Shanghai International Circuit)