Sainz gets 3-place penalty; Stewards agree with me

Carlos Sainz will start the Russian Grand Prix three place farther back than where he qualifies due to a penalty he incurred for his role in the Bahrain Grand Prix incident with Williams F1’s Lance Stroll. The clash took both drivers out of the race on lap 13.

“The stewards heard from Carlos Sainz, the driver of car 55, Lance Stroll, the driver of car 18 and the team representatives, reviewed the video evidence which showed that car 18 was on the normal racing line, car 55 left the pitlane and made a very optimistic attempt to pass car 18 into the corner,”

“The stewards decided that the driver of car 55 was predominately to blame for causing the collision in violation of Article 27.4 of the FIA Formula 1 Sporting Regulations.

“The competitor is reminded that, in accordance with Article 12.2.4 of the FIA International Sporting Code and Article 38.3 g) of the FIA Formula 1 Sporting regulations, the above penalty is not susceptible to appeal.”

Sainz also was given two penalty points which brings his total to seven over the last 12 months. 

After a spirited debate with Twitter folks, I still stand on the notion that all of this happens in fractions of a second and while Carlos had a full view of the entire track before him and Stroll’s commitment to the corner, it was odd to see him dive down the inside as Lance was well ahead and already committed to the apex and turning in. 

Again, to be fair to Carlos, it happens really quickly and Stroll said he saw Carlos 60 meters behind him and turned in only to find that he had dove down the inside. The Stewards saw it the same way and so did I. 

Twitter folks were reminding me of ‘situational awareness’ and Stroll’s penchant for crashing etc but I found nothing untoward about Lance’s approach to turn 1 here. He was in the braking zone and turning in to the corner and most likely wasn’t expecting Carlos to dive down the inside. Sainz hit Stroll mid-way up the sidepod suggesting he was never ahead of Stroll.

You could argue that Stroll needed situational awareness and to realize Carlos was there and back off but that works two ways and if I’m Lance, the corner was mine, not Carlos’s so he should have backed out to avoid collision. 

Sure, everyone has an opinion, how did you see the incident? I’ll get Paul’s take on it on the Race Review podcast.