Sainz: Safety Car confusion was ‘very strange situation’

Henry Valantine
Carlos Sainz waves his hat on the podium. Abu Dhabi December 2021.

Carlos Sainz walks onto the podium after finishing P3. Abu Dhabi December 2021.

Away from the top two, Carlos Sainz said his final lap was a “very strange situation” after the Safety Car period in Abu Dhabi.

Sainz was in a battle for the final podium place with both AlphaTauri drivers and Valtteri Bottas, and the confusion surrounding which lapped cars would overtake the Safety Car led to a bizarre final lap from his point of view.

Five lapped drivers were allowed to pass and un-lap themselves, but that left Sainz with lapped traffic in Lance Stroll and Daniel Ricciardo in front of him in the queue behind the two leaders.

That led to a situation whereby he had runners in front of him that needed to make way for him where possible, all while trying to fend off the chasing pack behind him.

Given only selected cars were able to pass the Safety Car, the Spaniard was left confused as to how this managed to occur – and urged the FIA to look at how this than be prevented in future.

“It was certainly a very strange situation for me,” Sainz said, quoted by GPFans.

“I was obviously battling with Valtteri [Bottas] and the AlphaTauris behind with medium tyres while I was on very used hard tyres.

“At the beginning, I was told they would not be allowed to un-lap themselves, the group in front of me, then it was decided to un-lap themselves and some people un-lapped themselves but there was still, I think, an Aston Martin and a McLaren, Ricciardo, between the two leaders and myself.

“I’ve never had it before, having to restart the race with these two guys in front of me while fighting for a P3.

“I believe it was a strange one and something to look at because it was just very strange to see and it nearly cost me a podium, to be honest.”


The Ferrari driver managed to get onto the podium, however, and was able to leapfrog Lando Norris and team-mate Charles Leclerc to P5 in the Drivers’ Championship at the final race of the season.

That result capped an excellent year for Sainz in his first season at the team, while helping the Scuderia to finish third in the Constructors’ Championship.


Overall positive Sunday for Ferrari

Carlos Sainz finished on the podium and Charles Leclerc in P10, so all in all a fairly good Sunday.