Oscar Piastri takes aim at Carlos Sainz after early Belgian Grand Prix retirement

Henry Valantine
Oscar Piastri after the sprint shootout. Belgium July 2023. F1 results

McLaren driver Oscar Piastri adjusts his equipment after taking a front-row grid slot for the sprint. Spa July 2023.

Oscar Piastri aimed a dig at Carlos Sainz after contact with the Ferrari driver at the start of the Belgian Grand Prix forced him to retire on the first lap.

The McLaren driver got away well and Sainz looked to slow down in time for the hairpin of La Source but locked up his front-right tyre, going across the track in doing so.

With Piastri on the inside, the McLaren driver made contact with the wall on the inside of the corner and suffered race-ending damage.

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher

Taking to team radio to voice his frustrations, Piastri said: “I don’t know what he was doing. I was there and he just turned in like I didn’t exist.”

Sainz suffered damage himself in the incident, with a hole being formed in his sidepod – reminiscent of the damage suffered by Sergio Perez in the sprint on Saturday – with Ferrari reporting a 5% loss of aerodynamic balance, a significant performance impact for the Spaniard.

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He fell well down the order in the following laps himself, with that early contact impacting both drivers as Sainz fell out of the points by lap 8 at Spa.

It was a disappointing end to a breakthrough weekend for Piastri, whose second place finish in the sprint on Saturday saw him lead his first laps in Formula 1 early on and put seven points on the board.

“I think it is quite firmly in the category of a lap one, turn one incident,” Piastri told media, including PlanetF1.com after his retirement.

“I got a good start and got my nose alongside, and then when we got to the braking zone. Carlos moves a bit to the right and locked up and I also had to try avoid that a bit.

“And then from there to the apex, my options were quite limited and where I could go.

“I’ll look back over it more and see if there was more I could have done but it’s just a shame that we’re standing here and not still on track.”

Asked by PlanetF1.com if he was surprised that the FIA did not investigate the incident with Sainz, Piastri said: “I think we both could have done things a bit differently.

“It’s a very tight turn one and Carlos also didn’t have many options from where Lewis [Hamilton] was either.”

The damage to Piastri’s car from the incident ensured that he could only tackle Raidillon and Eau Rouge at a snail’s pace with a whole host of flying cars looking to surge past him.

Asked by PlanetF1.com if he was cringing at that sight, he added: “Yeah, it wasn’t fun. That’s for sure.

“I think I was quite lucky that everyone kind of got around me before Eau Rouge and then just the way the steering was I kind of managed to get to the left side of the track. Before the bottom of Eau Rouge. So from that point, it was okay. And I just tried to stay as far left as possible. But yeah, it’s not very fun going around a slightly curved straight!”

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