Max Verstappen insists that he tried to avoid Carlos Sainz when the pair collided at turn 4 in the Bahrain Grand Prix.
The clash left Sainz, who had been putting heavy pressure on P5 Verstappen, with a punctured tyre that forced him to pit.
Verstappen pleaded his innocence, arguing that in the current cars you cannot see who or what is alongside you.
“He tried to go around the outside and brake late,” Verstappen told reports in Sakhir, “and then I guess he didn’t see me anymore on the side because with these cars you are just blinded what’s happening next to you.
“So I braked late and I saw he just turned into the corner so then I had to avoid the accident so I went onto the kerb and we still clipped with the wheels.
“It’s unfortunate but I guess he didn’t expect me to be there still.”
Very disappointed. Again a great start and a strong pace put me in a good position to overtake the RedBull. I got hit, got a puncture and ended up retiring the car for a different reason. Not happy, but car felt good and congrats to Lando and the team for those points. #BahrainGP pic.twitter.com/FERmgWoYvG
— Carlos Sainz (@Carlossainz55) March 31, 2019
Sainz was able to continue after repairs, but the chance of a strong points finish was gone.
“I attempted a move on Max Verstappen around the outside and got the worst part of it,” Sainz explained.
“He just hit me really hard, it was a big hit, I thought the car was destroyed
“In the end I got a puncture, I could continue but I got definitely the worst part of it.”
The stewards took no further action on the incident, ruling “no driver who wholly or predominately to blame”, a decision which Sainz backed.
“Let them race, that’s the rule nowadays,” he said. “So I’m not here to complain about ‘Max should have got a penalty’. He shouldn’t.
“I just know that he went really hard into the corner, he braked really late for being on the inside, he got in the kerb, he hit me very hard.
“But I’m not going to complain, I’m going to try and keep it simple, I’m going to go and see the video. But that’s it. In the heat of the moment it’s better not to complain, better not to blame the stewards or anything like that.
“I just know that I had to try that move. I think it would have been really bad not to attempt that move around the outside on Max.”