Carlos Sainz ‘in disbelief’ over huge Las Vegas GP penalty

Carlos Sainz said he was “in disbelief” over the 10-place grid penalty he was assessed after his Ferrari was damaged by a loose manhole cover during the first practice session of the Las Vegas Grand Prix.

Sainz hit the cover a few minutes into Thursday night’s first session, causing significant damage to his car. The session was abandoned and the second practice session was delayed by more than two hours.

Ferrari worked to replace the engine component in Sainz’s car, but it put him over the annual limit for that component, which automatically triggered a 10-place grid drop for Saturday’s race.

“Unfortunately, as the session finished, the team communicated to me that I was taking a 10-place grid penalty for something that I have no fault and the team has no fault,” Sainz said.

“Obviously, this has changed completely my mindset and obviously my opinion on the weekend and how the weekend is going to go from now on. You can obviously imagine how disappointed I am, in disbelief with the situation and you will not see me very happy this weekend.”

Ferrari was the fastest team during the 90-minute practice session, but the penalty means Sainz will begin Saturday’s night race well back on the grid. The team requested that it be able to replace the component outside of the penalty-free pool, only to be told that there is nothing in the regulations to allow for an exception.

“What happened today for me is a very clear example of how this sport can be improved in so many ways,” he said. “This could clearly be applied as force majeure for me not to take a penalty, but people always find ways to make this situation worse for an individual.

“And I think in this case, it’s my turn to pay the price.”