Carlos Sainz was the recipient of several complaints during qualifying in Canada, as the Spaniard found himself amidst a series of incidents with drivers behind him completing fast laps.
The clearest example of this was his incident with Pierre Gasly, where the Alpine driver missed out on a chance to improve and qualify for Q2 after being blocked by Sainz and Tsunoda late in the lap.
Sainz was going very slowly in the final corner, trying to create space for his flying lap, failing to consider the Frenchman arriving behind – who was without any room to complete his attempt.
Gasly was understandably furious on team radio, describing the incident as dangerous and calling for punishment.
Although both Sainz and Tsunoda were involved in the incident, the AlphaTauri driver attempted to overtake the SF-23 and avoid blocking Gasly – whilst Sainz found himself out of position.
In any case, speaking to Sky Sports after qualifying, the Ferrari driver was very clear on his perspective:
“It was very tight with the flag; the flag was about to fall. I got impeded seven times today, and I’m not shouting on the radio at turn 13.
“Other drivers choose to use the radio more than others. Today I was getting impeded many, many times. Let’s see what they do.
“Some incidents are under investigation; others are not. It depends [on] how much you shout on the radio [and] how much you complain. So let’s see.
“I was stopped, and I had to let other cars go, and I couldn’t get out of the way. I did my best to get out of the way, and I tried to go.
“The flag was about to fall, and also, it was a bit of every man for himself. I had to go. If not, I would have missed my qualifying lap.
“I was getting impeded at the time too.”
It seems unlikely this explanation will rescue Sainz from a penalty from the stewards, although a decision is yet to be made.
Regardless of the outcome, Ferrari’s promising pace on Friday has not been converted into a strong qualifying. Both SF-23 machines will be starting from the middle of the pack, with plenty of work ahead on Sunday.
In this difficult period for the Scuderia, such shenanigans only add insult to injury.
Author: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang