An oil spill on the grid ahead of the Las Vegas Grand Prix gave the drivers an extra obstacle to deal with at the race start.
The drivers headed out for the usual pre-race parade ahead of Sunday’s race in Las Vegas, only for the classic car ferrying Oscar Piastri around to blow up and leak oil all over the starting grid.
The position of the spill was directly in front of Max Verstappen’s grid slot, although would have affected any of the drivers lining up on the inside line for the run down to Turn 1.
Carlos Sainz: Cars leaking oil being on the grid is unacceptable
With the line into the first corner compromised by the oil spill as it was cleaned up and dried with concrete dust and airdryers, it may have played a contributing factor in the resulting mess at Turn 1 as multiple cars collided when they failed to slow down enough for the corner.
Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, who was caught up in the melee, said he could see more than one car leaking oil onto the track.
“I saw a lot of oil from the cars that we used to do the drivers parade,” he told media after the race.
“Which is another thing for the FIA to look at, because it is not fair that all the oil was on the inside line. Apart from the dirty track already being there, on top of that, we put cars that are leaking oil into the track one hour before the race – it’s unacceptable. That probably caused a lot of the crashes into Turn 1.”
Sainz spun at the first corner as the drivers all fought to keep control of their cars, with the Spaniard explaining the remarkably low grip conditions.
“You never expect it to be so bad,” he said.
“I just touched the brakes – not even hit it, and the tyres were locked. I didn’t even brake that late.
“I braked around the 100-metre board but arrived 100kph slower than on a quali lap. The cold tyres probably also played a role. It was absolutely shocking, Lap 1, and I think we all struggled.”
Verstappen, who also ran wide and pushed Charles Leclerc out with him in the process, also said a different solution may need to be found.
“The oil spill was not ideal,” he said in the press conference after racking up his 18th win of the season. “It was a classic car from the driver’s parade.
“So that’s maybe something that we have to look into because it’s a bit of a shame that happens. I had to steer a bit left of it at the start.”