Sainz handed Russian GP grid penalty for Stroll clash in Bahrain

3 Comments

Carlos Sainz Jr. will drop three places on the grid at the next Formula 1 race in Russia after being deemed responsible for a crash with Lance Stroll during Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix.

Sainz and Stroll crashed at Turn 1 on Lap 11 at the Bahrain International Circuit, with both drivers laying blame with one another for the collision.

Replays showed Sainz exiting the pit lane and taking to the inside of the corner, with Stroll trying to take his usual racing line before the pair came together.

After speaking to both drivers and analyzing the video footage of the clash, the stewards deemed Sainz to have been at fault, resulting in a three-place grid penalty for the Russian Grand Prix on April 30.

“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 pit lane and made a very optimistic attempt to pass car 18 into the corner,” a statement from the FIA stewards reads.

“The Stewards decided that the driver of car 55 was predominantly to blame for causing the collision in violation of Article 27.4 of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations.”

The crash caused both Stroll and Sainz to retire from the race, and marked the third round in a row that the former had failed to see the finish.

F1: Valtteri Bottas urges Lewis Hamilton to clear up Mercedes future and sign

Getty Images
Leave a comment

MONACO (AP) — Valtteri Bottas is urging Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton to sign a new contract, even though his own future is uncertain.

Bottas needs to convince Mercedes to give him a new deal for next year. Hamilton, meanwhile, is stalling on signing a new one even though an offer is in place. Hamilton was again asked about his contract situation on Wednesday, and maintains he’s in no hurry.

“There isn’t any sticking point. There just hasn’t been any rush,” Hamilton said. “There’s no discussion with anybody else, there’s no consideration for anybody else, it’s just (me) taking my time.”

But Bottas would like Hamilton’s future cleared up.

“For sure I would. First of all, I would like to stay here. That is my goal for the long term. It would be nice if Lewis wants to stay and finds an agreement,” Bottas said at the Mercedes motorhome. “I enjoy working with him, I enjoy the challenge he gives me. I enjoy the fact he’s four-time world champion and at the moment I’m none. It makes me try harder to be better.

“It wouldn’t change my mind that I want to stay here, but I think we work well together,” he added.

Last season was their first together. Bottas was drafted in from Williams as an emergency replacement after Nico Rosberg retired. He won three races but he stood out more as the ideal support driver as Hamilton reclaimed the F1 title.

Bottas understands Mercedes expects improvement.

“We had a chat before the season and naturally we expect performance gains compared to last year, being closer to Lewis,” Bottas said. “That’s what you need to do in the second season.”

However, Bottas says he has not been set a specific target in terms of points or where he finishes overall.

“There’s no magic number,” he said. “There’s no clause or anything, so it’s how the team feels I’m performing.”

Bottas finished third overall last year behind Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel and Hamilton.

He is in the same overall position – 20 points behind Vettel and 37 adrift of Hamilton – heading into this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix.

The Finnish driver would be closer if not for a dramatic finish at the Azerbaijan GP last month. With victory seemingly guaranteed, he sustained a tire puncture and ended up with no points. He bounced back with a fine drive for second place in Spain two weeks ago.

“I feel like I’ve met my performance targets. Pace-wise I’m on the level I need, but result-wise I’m not happy,” Bottas said. “It’s been strange. But I know if I keep improving very good things will come.”

He has faced a considerable amount of criticism with observers questioning whether he can compete at the top level. Yet driving under the constant pressure of having a point to prove has also made him more resilient.

“For sure it makes you tougher and better,” he said. “From each difficult weekend, I feel I’ve been able to turn it (around).”