RACE DEBRIEF

    Carlos Sainz has described his Melbourne weekend as a “bit of a disaster” after he suffered steering wheel issues before spinning out of the Australian Grand Prix to suffer his first retirement of the season.

    After a slow getaway, Sainz dropped from ninth to 14th – having started on the hard compound in a bid to make up ground following a frustrating qualifying – and as he fought Zhou Guanyu on Lap 2, he ran onto the grass at Turn 9, lost control and beached his Ferrari in the gravel trap.

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    “I did a mistake misjudging the grip for sure,” he said. “What was clearly not right today was we again had issues with the steering wheel. We had to change the steering wheel one minute before leaving for the formation lap and the steering wheel was not well positioned on some switches which meant at the start I was getting some anti-stall.

    “So I started with hards and with anti-stall so was on the back foot. Being in a rush to overtake and come back I did a mistake on the hard tyre when the tyre was probably not ready to be pushed and not ready to overtake people, so it’s not great.

    2022 Australian Grand Prix: Sainz retires after spin into the gravel

    “We have not been perfect this weekend, it’s been a bit of disaster, so we need to learn from it and I was the first one to make a mistake.”

    He added: “Definitely the cars are bit trickier. The hard tyres are harder – they are more difficult to manage in starts and today I paid the price of it.

    “But of course there is human error, especially at the beginning of the season until we learn these cars. But that is no excuse, I should not have done that mistake and we should not be having the problems with the steering that we have had.”

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    Carlos Sainz explains how steering wheel problems led to Lap 2 mistake

    His team mate Charles Leclerc dominated in Australia to win his second race in three Grands Prix this season and extend his championship lead to 34 points from George Russell, with Sainz a further four adrift.

    READ MORE: ‘It was the first race where we could control the gap’ says Leclerc after extending championship lead Down Under

    “This car in the worse possible scenario was able do a top-four with a good comeback,” added Sainz. “Without the issues of yesterday, without the issues of today we should have been in the fight for a win so to go away with zero points is very disappointing. We need to be more perfect as a team and this weekend we clearly haven’t been.”

    His retirement ends a run of 17 races in the points and a 31-race finishing streak, both of which were the longest active streaks.

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