Carlos Sainz has said Max Verstappen can consider himself “lucky” after not picking up any damage in their Bahrain collision.
Sainz surprised many in the opening stages, showing pace in the McLaren and battling Verstappen in the Red Bull for P5 on track.
All hope of making a move stick on the Dutchman would vanish, though, as the duo made contact at Turn 4 which left Sainz down at the back of the grid with a puncture.
“Well, it’s racing, it’s incidents,” Sainz told reporters in the Bahrain paddock.
“All I can say is that I started well, I did all I had to do and tried everything I had to try and I ended up worse off. It was my turn to get puncture thanks to how hard he hit me.
“The normal thing would have been that we both got a puncture and to be both out of the race. He was lucky to continue, but he hit me really hard and that was it.”
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Verstappen, who would go on to finish P4, felt that the incident between the two occurred because of the possibility that Sainz was left a little bit blind-sided.
“He tried to go around the outside and braked late, I guess he didn’t see me,” Verstappen said.
“In these cars you are blind to what is happening next to you. I braked late and saw him turn into the corner, so I had to take avoiding action. We clipped wheels and it was unfortunate.”
Sainz was forced to retire in the closing stages, to add to his DNF in Australia, and said that gearbox issues would have definitely made sure that a points finish was off the cards in Bahrain.
“I’m trying to look at the positives,” Sainz added.
“A good start, a good first lap, the cars in front weren’t opening the gap and I could stay with the top six without problems.
“Then I don’t think we would have finished in the points because my gearbox failed all throughout the race.
“We had a gearbox problem that was making us lose almost a second per lap, so if I had overtaken Verstappen I would have been fifth and then suddenly I would have had the gearbox problem, then it would have been even more dramatic.”