Carlos Sainz has blamed a lap 1 clashed with Sergey Sirotkin for his lack of points in Russia, saying the Williams driver “broke” his car.
The contact damaged Sainz’s RS18 and he limped home in 17th place, two laps down.
“Very tough, very hard to accept after I started better with the softs than everybody with the hypersofts,” he said. “I overtook a couple of them under braking.
“Then Sirotkin went guns blazing.
“I didn’t feel the impact but apparently he touched me and broke all the right sidepod and all the right floor, which was all cracked, and right after Turn 3 I started to feel that the car was not going well and that it would be a long race.
“I was losing I don’t know how many points of downforce. The car was oversteering a lot.
“From there it was just a race about trying to stay out, slow down the Haas and the Saubers for Nico [Hulkenberg] to open the gap to them, but even so, the car was so bad that it was very hard.”
It was a case of what could have been for the Spaniard, who feels a top-ten showing was on the cards.
“I knew perfectly that scoring was impossible with this car. It was a 1-1.5 seconds slower than I’ve been all weekend.
“It was more about trying to help the team. I’m sure we could have scored with a normal car.
“In fact, I think Nico was very close and if you keep in mind I was ahead of Nico after the start I think I maybe I could have held the Haas and Force Indias behind.
“It’s very frustrating because it’s a missed chance but these things happen in the races. It wasn’t my fault.”