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Sainz handed Baku grid drop for opening lap shunt

11 Jun 2017

Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz has been handed a three-place grid drop for the next race in Azerbaijan for his part in the opening lap incident which eliminated both him and Williams’ Felipe Massa from the race, and left Romain Grosjean with front wing damage.

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Dicing in the midfield pack on the run down to Turn 3, Sainz made contact with Romain Grosjean’s Haas before losing control, spinning into Massa’s car and ending up in the barriers.

The stewards announced that they would investigate the incident after the race, and having heard from both Sainz and Grosjean they determined that whilst the collision was not caused by a deliberate act, Sainz’s assumption that no car was alongside him, and that therefore he could move to the right, was both “careless and potentially dangerous”.

As well as receiving the grid drop, Sainz was also given two penalty points on his licence, bringing his total for the last 12 months to seven. The Spaniard, who was also reprimanded on Friday, will receive a one-race ban if he receives a further five penalty points within the same period.

Grosjean, who recovered to finish 10th, said Sainz’s move reminded him of the first-lap incident he was involved in at Belgium 2012 that earned him a one-race ban.  

“It was the same manoeuvre as me turning on Lewis [Hamilton]," the Frenchman said.

"If he sees me or not, I was there, I was well alongside him so it’s the same type of thing. I’m not saying it’s a race ban, I’m not saying he needs a big fine as I had, but I’m saying I’m very unhappy with the way he behaved and I think it was very dangerous.”

Sainz later apologised to Grosjean and Massa for his part in the incident, saying on Twitter: “Romain was simply on my blind spot and never got to see him. Glad we are all OK!”