Carlos Sainz was forced to retired from the 2023 Belgian Grand Prix, after contact with Oscar Piastri into Turn 1 led to irreversible damage on his SF-23.
Sainz started from P4 at lights out, and as the Spaniard tried to overtake Lewis Hamilton on the inside of Turn 1, he veered right as Piastri was trying an opportunistic move with contact between the Australian and Spanish drivers inevitable. A case of bad judgement by both of them, and a racing incident as per the stewards.
The damage to Sainz’s car was too much, and as he slowly dropped in the pecking order, Ferrari had no choice but to bring a premature end to his race on lap 23. Piastri was out on the spot.
Ferrari, despite their number 55 car being out of the race, still had a good result to be proud of, as Charles Leclerc managed a podium finish in P3, behind both Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez.
Speaking to Sky Sports F1 after the race, Sainz looked back on his frustrating Sunday at Spa, he said: “I was on the attack with Lewis, I went to pass him into turn one, I think I had the move pretty much done and suddenly I received contact on my rear right by Oscar.
“I honestly didn’t expect him to go and choose to be three into turn one with him so much on the inside,” he added.
Sainz: Everyone who has tried that move has always generated an incident
“My opinion, I’ve been racing in Spa seven or eight years and everyone who has tried that move on the very inside has always generated an incident or a crash,” the Spaniard continued. “If you look back at past starts here that is normally the case. Maybe a bit of an experience mistake but that’s how it goes.
“I didn’t expect him there, no,” Sainz reiterated. “I did at one point see him that he was on the wall pretty much but I was more focused on my battle with Lewis.
“I didn’t miss the apex or anything, I went to attack Lewis and Oscar went to attack Lewis which I think in my opinion was a bit optimistic,” the 28-year-old driver concluded.
Another frustrating race for the Scuderia driver, who was no doubt in a very decent position to pick up some points on a day where Ferrari seemed to be a bit better, but an unfortunate incident brought about a swift end to his Belgian Grand Prix.
Sainz enters the summer break seventh in the F1 Drivers’ Standings, with 92 points, compared to 99 for teammate Leclerc in fifth.