Carlos Sainz believes Turn 2 at the Sochi Autodrom “shouldn’t exist” thanks to its tendency to cause incidents.
The large run-off area at the end of the main straight often encourages drivers to leave the track if they can’t make the first turn, though in doing so they have to also miss Turn 2 and instead follow a route marked out by boards to return to the track.
And at the start Sainz did this, but while trying to weave through the boards he got it all wrong and clattered the wall, causing him to retire from the race with the front-left area of his McLaren ruined.
Sainz held his hands up for the incident but said that configuration at Turn 2 shouldn’t exist anyway.
“Unfortunately in Turn 2, I had someone on the inside, and I ran a bit wide,” he is quoted by Motorsport.com.
“By the time I decided to go around the bollard, I went around the bollard with a very, very narrow angle, and I misjudged my entry speed around the bollard and hit the wall pretty heavily.
“A misjudgement by my side, a mistake. I still think that corner shouldn’t exist. It’s not a very nice corner to drive around, and it generates these kind of situation. But I just misjudged it.
“It’s still not a corner that is well designed. You saw today in the race just how many people are missing that apex, and having to go around the bollards, destroying the bollards, it’s clearly not a great corner.”
Sainz wasn’t the only driver whose race was ruined by Turn 2.
His team-mate Lando Norris saw his race heavily compromised as he lifted off to avoid Sainz during his accident, while Daniel Ricciardo was given a five-second time penalty for failing to rejoin the circuit correctly at Turn 2.
Romain Grosjean also prompted the Virtual Safety Car to be deployed thanks to the debris he caused by hitting one of the bollards.
“It was an extremely tough race. My start was alright – nothing spectacular, but not bad. It was difficult on the right-hand side of the grid” Norris told the McLaren website.
“I had a decent run down to Turn Two, but some guys just committed a lot more and I ended up having to back out. Anyone that committed just ran off the track and it was tricky to avoid them.
“Then there was the incident ahead that involved Carlos that I had to avoid. I think it damaged some bits on the car and made it a lot trickier to finish the race.
“We weren’t far away, but on a hard tyre, which we boxed for at the end of lap one, I just missed out a little bit. We need to improve for next time – it was very tricky to drive the car in the race on this track. We’ll try again in Germany.”
Lando finishes the #RussianGP in P15.
Not the result we wanted but we'll be back to fight again in Germany. 👊 pic.twitter.com/7LRvFhDGfS
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) September 27, 2020
McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl felt that the configuration of Turn 2 didn’t contribute to Sainz’s crash.
“Carlos said it himself with the angle he was approaching this slot, he misjudged, and that was the reason why he touched the barrier,” he explained.
“So then it was his fault. I think it would be wrong now to blame anyone else or anything else.
“Obviously it ended our race for both cars, unfortunately, in Turn 2 of a long race, because Lando had to back out and was last after the first lap.
“And then there was nothing left to lose, so we boxed through safety on to the hard trying to simply survive and hope for something else happening like another safety car which didn’t work out.
“Very disappointing to go away from here with zero points, because I think we were up for again good points.”