Carlos Sainz has stated that he is “in disbelief” over the grid
penalty he was issued for the Las Vegas Grand Prix. Sainz’s Ferrari
car sustained heavy damage in the opening minutes of the first
practice session when he ran over a loose drain cover. The session
was subsequently abandoned as F1 undertook a track inspection ahead
of FP2, while Ferrari requested the installation of fresh engine
components outside of the penalty-free pool. However, the stewards
highlighted that there is nothing written in the regulations to
allow for an exception, with Sainz handed a 10-place grid drop
after Ferrari fitted his third Energy Store of the year. Sainz has
questioned why force majeure couldn’t be applied to the situation
as the damage was inflicted by substandard track conditions. “What
happened today is a very clear example of how this sport can be
improved in so many ways,” he said. “This could’ve been applied as
force majeure for me to not take a penalty but people always find
ways to make the situation worse for an individual. “In this case,
it’s my turn to pay the price.” Sainz hails Ferrari for car
recovery Sainz managed to return to the track for the start of FP2,
which was delayed by two and a half hours. The Spaniard commended
the work carried out by the Ferrari team to repair his broken car.
“I had a pretty big hit on my back and my neck in the incident that
you all saw,” he reflected. “Unfortunately the chassis, the Power
Unit, the battery and even my seat were damaged after the incident.
“A huge effort from the mechanics who put together a completely
brand new car for FP2 that allowed me to complete the session,
which was, in my opinion, a heroic effort. We managed to recover
the time and focus on tomorrow.” Sainz confident over Ferrari pace
Sainz ended FP2 in second place behind team-mate Charles Leclerc,
suggesting that Ferrari has strong pace around the Las Vegas Strip
Circuit. However, Sainz has admitted that it is difficult for him
to stay positive with a grid drop looming for the upcoming Grand
Prix. “It felt good, on top of that you can see this weekend we are
relatively competitive as I think the track layout is suiting us
more compared to the last few [circuits],” Sainz said. “We seem to
be switching the tyres well over one lap and be competitive. So I
was excited and optimistic. Unfortunately, when the session
finished the team communicated that I was taking a 10-place gird
penalty for something that I had no fault and the team had no
fault. “This has changed completely my mindset and my opinion on
the weekend and how the weekend is going to go from now on. “You
can obviously see how disappointed and in disbelief I am with the
situation. You won’t see me happy this weekend.”

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