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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. 


An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry focusing on technology integration, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • @_canuck_

    The guy coming out of the pits has to yield, it’s like merging on to the freeway. Any driver would have held the line and trusted the other guy not to be a jackass.
    Shame for Stroll as his rep for crashing doesn’t help when people on the Internet are quick to blame, especially when they see him as a spoiled rich kid.
    Logging in with Twitter not working.

  • bikenerd

    Back when I went through racing driver school we were told that the overtaking driver held the responsibility to make the clean pass…but maybe I’m very old fashioned.

    • RBW001

      I put the blame on Stroll. As a driver, you need to avoid a collision that ruins your race, costs the team and yourself. He hasn’t yet figured out that he’s in the big league now. Saying that Sainz was 60 meters behind the last time he saw him exiting the pit. As he turned in to the apex, did he even check his mirrors knowing how fast these cars accelerate while he was braking for the corner. Putting the blame publicly on Sainz isn’t going to help him save his seat. He has a big mouth also, an heir of arrogance, a pay driver label, a less than impressive debut, a public comparison to Maldonando, a website If I were him I would shut my mouth and prove the critics wrong before they replace him.

      • Dr T

        Stroll may be young and from a rich family but he is not a muppet. Three series wins in three years says a lot. Verstappen is a prodigy but skips straight through without a series win.

        Sainz had no place being there. He was never going to be ahead in turns 1 or 2. Stroll took the racing line as is his right. Can’t lay the blame for Sainz error at Stroll’s feet

      • Daniel Johnson

        The problem with that is you are making a judgement on something we have a track record of a total of 3 races. The fact is it’s a tricky re-entry into the race course. You have a different braking point as you’re going much slower than the cars that are up to speed. 60 meters is probably the difference in braking points. It most likely caught Sainz off guard more than anything.

        Side note, maybe pit road should rejoin after that first complex of turns to avoid this.

        • Guy Fawkes

          Stroll’s two race “history” has nothing to do with this incident. What you are saying is that the car on track and up to speed should somehow manage to simultaneously hit the apex AND look at the mirror to spot a car coming out of the pits? You have much more faith in the ability of a driver than reality dictates. Sainz vision of the overall layout of the track and the corner was FAR better than Stroll’s. Or are you saying the car on track shouldtake the corner wide just in case a car is coming out of the pits? Racing doesn’t work that way. And, for that matter, Sainz has a “history” as well. The stewards got this one right. Don’t let your personal bias against Stroll’s entry into F1 cloud your judgement.

  • Tiago Santos

    I just hope that people don’t make Stroll, the new Maldonado. He was the victim yesterday. All the blame is with Sainz.

  • Daniel Johnson

    Dead on, especially when you account for visibility. Sainz was the only driver with a view to know where each car was in relation to each other.

  • Tom Firth

    What on earth was Sainz doing?

    The reaction of me at the time and i stand by it. Brundle and Crofty both saw it as Stroll fault too. I don’t know how you could actually argue that Stroll was at fault?

  • Schmorbraten

    Bad move by Sainz, but Stroll would still have been wise to anticipate that. Finishing a race is more important than being right.