Lewis Hamilton ‘ran me off the track’ judgement leaves Sainz questioning FIA rules

Elizabeth Blackstock
Carlos Sainz Jr. of Ferrari prepares for the Formula 1 2024 Spanish Grand Prix.

Carlos Sainz Jr. of Ferrari prepares for the Formula 1 2024 Spanish Grand Prix.

Carlos Sainz Jr. is left questioning the consistency of the FIA’s decision to avoid penalizing Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, as the Ferrari driver feels Hamilton “ran [him] off track.”

On lap 19 of the 2024 Spanish Grand Prix, Carlos Sainz Jr. and Lewis Hamilton were locked in a close battle for sixth position; as the Mercedes driver attempted to launch past Sainz, his W15 squeezed the Ferrari SF-24 at Turn 1. The FIA chose not to officially investigate, and Sainz is wondering why.

Sainz ‘trying to apply’ the stewards’ 2024 rules

Additional reporting by Sam Cooper

After the race, Carlos Sainz Jr. was asked about his impressions about how Hamilton had raced him, and he didn’t mince words.

“I felt like he ran me off the track, and I was half a car length ahead,” Sainz stated to media in Spain, including PlanetF1.com. “Normally, the rule this year says that if you’re ahead around the outside, they need to give you space.

“That’s normally what the stewards have ruled this year. So I was trying to benefit from that rule.”

Sainz is referring to the common understanding that right of way in a corner is determined by the driver with the bulk of their car ahead of the competition when hitting the apex of that corner.

If a driver forces a pass when they do not have the right of way, they are often instructed to yield that track position to the car they’ve just passed.

Immediately after Hamilton made the pass, Sainz radioed to his race engineer to look into the situation. Upon hearing that the FIA had ruled that there would be no further investigation, Sainz said, “I don’t understand why there’s a rulebook, and we don’t follow it.”

That frustration lingered with Sainz until the checkered flag fell.

After the race, Sainz opted against passing judgement on how hard Hamilton was racing, instead saying he’s “just trying to apply the rules that the stewards have applied all season long.”

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Carlos Sainz Jr.’s Spanish Grand Prix was something of a race to forget for the hometown driver.

Despite the fact that Ferrari brought in some fast-tracked performance upgrades, Sainz remained unimpressed with the car’s porpoising issues through Barcelona’s high-speed corners. He qualified sixth for the race, and that’s exactly where he finished.

Aside from his run-in with Hamilton, Sainz also made contact with his Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc.

Sainz attempted to pass Leclerc in Turn 1 at the start of the third lap; in the process, Leclerc’s front wing clipped Sainz’s right rear wheel, and Sainz had to take the escape road.

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