‘A lack of experience’ – Sainz and Piastri at odds over first corner crash at Spa that forced both into retirement
Carlos Sainz and Oscar Piastri had a difference of opinion after making contact at the first corner of the Belgian Grand Prix – contact which ultimately took both drivers out of the race.
With Sainz and Piastri starting P4 and P5 respectively, Sainz found himself fighting with the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton on the run down to the tight Turn 1 right-hander at La Source.
It was then that Piastri – a star of yesterday’s Sprint after claiming P2 – launched a move down the inside of Sainz, who himself had locked a brake going into the corner.
Piastri was squeezed against the wall as the pair made contact, with the McLaren sliding down the order before parking up at Turn 11 – Sainz limping on with a glaring gash in the side of his SF-23 before Ferrari retired the car on Lap 23.
“I was on the attack with Lewis into Turn 1 and I think I pretty much had the move done and then I received a bit of contact on my rear-right,” reckoned Sainz afterwards. “If you want my honest opinion, I think it was a bit of a mistake by Oscar trying to go through side-by-side into [Turn] 1.
“If you look at the last seven, eight years, everyone who has tried that move, it’s never really worked and has generated a bit of a crash when you look at the past races. So yeah, I don’t know if it was a bit of a lack of experience, a bit optimistic, but again a racing incident that cost us a race.”
Seen from the #81 car of Piastri, the Australian predictably had a different point of view to Sainz, telling his engineer Tom Stallard immediately after the crash: “I don’t know what he was doing. I was there and he just turned in like I didn’t exist.”
Reflecting after returning to the paddock, Piastri told the media: “I had a pretty good launch, I was getting alongside Carlos and then he kind of jinked to the inside a bit and I obviously had to get out of the brakes to not get hit.
“My nose was kind of there and at that point, it was too late to try and back out, so unfortunately I ended up in contact. A shame to end so early.”
Sainz and Piastri were left to watch as team mates Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris both claimed points, Leclerc taking a podium in P3 behind the Red Bulls of winner Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, as Norris finished in the P7 position he’d started in.