JV: Sainz’s Russian GP crash was ‘stupid’

Date published: October 3 2020

Carlos Sainz's McLaren is craned away after his accident in the Russian Grand Prix

Ex-F1 driver Jacques Villeneuve was shocked by Carlos Sainz’s first-lap crash at Sochi, calling it “just stupid”.

Drivers were told that whenever they went behind the exit kerb at Turn 2 of the Sochi Autodrom they must then follow a route marked out by bollards to return to the circuit.

And at the start of the Russian Grand Prix Sainz was forced off the track at Turn 2.

He followed the route as instructed, but ended up clattering the wall as he misjudged the gap he had to work with, bringing an end to his race on Lap 1, while the incident also caused damage to team-mate Lando Norris in the other McLaren.

In the end the Woking outfit would walk away from the Russian Grand Prix empty-handed, and Villeneuve can’t understand what Sainz was thinking.

“The Sainz incident in Sochi? I just don’t understand what he was thinking of doing,” he is quoted by Motorionline.com.

“What he’s done is just stupid. At that point on the escape route is a real wall. He passed without raising his foot, ending up crashing into the barrier. I personally think this is a very serious mistake.”

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Sainz was one of many drivers to call for Turn 2 at the Sochi Autodrom to be redesigned following the Russian Grand Prix.

“Unfortunately in Turn 2, I had someone on the inside, and I ran a bit wide,” he was 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 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 is currently P11 in the Drivers’ Championship in what is his final year as part of the McLaren team.

At the end of the season he will make the move to Ferrari where he will replace four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel from 2021.

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