Carlos Sainz Jnr, McLaren, Bahrain International Circuit, 2019

Verstappen says he tried to avoid hitting Sainz

2019 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen says he tried not to make contact with Carlos Sainz Jnr when the pair collided at turn four during the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The impact left Sainz with a punctured tyre. The McLaren driver said his rival “hit me really hard” but Verstappen said he tried to avoid the collision.

“He tried to go around the outside and brake late,” said Verstappen, “and then I guess he didn’t see me anymore on the side because with these cars you are just blinded what’s happening next to you.

“So I braked late and I saw he just turned into the corner so then I had to avoid the accident so I went onto the kerb and we still clipped with the wheels. It’s unfortunate but I guess he didn’t expect me to be there still.”

Sainz said he initially thought his car had been “destroyed” by the collision but he was able to continue after repairs.

“I attempted a move on Max Verstappen around the outside and got the worst part of it,” Sainz explained. “He just hit me really hard, it was a big hit, I thought the car was destroyed

“In the end I got a puncture, I could continue but I got definitely the worst part of it.”

The stewards cleared the pair over the collision, ruling “no driver who wholly or predominately to blame”. Sainz backed the stewards’ decision to handle racing incidents more leniently this year.

“Let them race, that’s the rule nowadays,” he said. “So I’m not here to complain about ‘Max should have got a penalty’. He shouldn’t.

“I just know that he went really hard into the corner, he braked really late for being on the inside, he got in the kerb, he hit me very hard.

“But I’m not going to complain, I’m going to try and keep it simple, I’m going to go and see the video. But that’s it. In the heat of the moment it’s better not to complain, better not to blame the stewards or anything like that.

“I just know that I had to try that move. I think it would have been really bad not to attempt that move around the outside on Max.”

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45 comments on “Verstappen says he tried to avoid hitting Sainz”

  1. georgeboole (@)
    1st April 2019, 9:49

    Good talking from both of them, stewards need to let them race even if that incolves some sort of contact and it is not deliberate.
    Is there any onboard video of the crash?

      1. With F1 tv you see a wider angle. Sainz just stays on racing line and doesn’t give any space to Verstappen. He has to go over the kerbs to avoid a dive into the side of Sainz, but with this his wheels get off the circuit. So he bumps further outside, and hits Sainz.
        They we’re both braking late, but Sainz just closed the door. Verstappen could have never avoided a collision. It’s too bad it led to a puncture, else it was just some nice racing. That was bad luck for Sainz I guess. Because the action of both drivers was alright and the cars should be able to take some kind of hit (look at Ricciardo and Hulkenberg).

      2. It looked like there was hardly any contact. I think Sainz was very unlucky to get a puncture from it.

      3. georgeboole (@)
        1st April 2019, 12:40

        @ruben thank you.
        It was what I thought too. Close and fair racing. Just unlucky for Sainz to pick that puncture. Hope we see more of that

      4. Thank you for the link! I think VER could’ve done more to avoid the incident! One just sees SAI front wing in front of VER until the collision – I assume VER just turned to the kerb to avoid a complete ramming of SAI. Still racing incident, but it’s a bit of an overstretch to put the responsability on entirely on SAI, he had the line and was in front!

        1. Sainz made the initial move on Verstappen… leaving a bit of room would have been enough to stay safe…. then again if he would have left a bit of room the overtake would have failed. Sainz tried, but failed, Verstappen being not the easiest driver to overtake is the key part of racing.

          1. That’s not exactly the key part in racing. And BOT seemed to overtake him quite easy, even with a lock up.

  2. One does not simply pass Max Verstappen around the outside.

    1. Yet Bottas did exactly that few laps later.

  3. If there was a different Spaniard in that car, they could have finished 4th.

    1. Von Smallhausen (@engelbertvonsmallhausen)
      2nd April 2019, 9:21

      Doubt it.

  4. That’s a good approach by both of them especially Sainz the more prominent victim of the incident.

    1. A victim of his own making, you mean?

  5. I didn’t see him trying to avoid collision.
    And considering the number of people this driver took out, I will still think that he didn’t try.

    1. @dallein
      True, he has taken a lot of drivers out and often got away with no or too lenient penalties, but this time he solely tried to make the corner. I can’t see, looking at the onboards, how this was VERs fault.

      1. @krxx
        By many you mean: 1?
        The one he immediately apologized to after the race with a cold beer….

        1. LOL. Which one do you mean? I can choose from literally double digits collisions.

          1. Well, name all the drivers he has taken out.

    2. Hilarious……the guy has literally caused 1 driver to retire in over 80 races…..afterwhich he immediately apologized.

  6. No being malicious, but since when has Verstappen ever tried to avoid hitting anyone.

    1. Agree. He never backs down from making contact. He never try to avoid contact and thats not how you drive if your aim is World Championship.

      1. I think if you really wanted to you would see numerous times since Max’s rough start to last year, where he has taken a more conservative approach and picked better times for his battles that have resulted in more clean racing. But sure, when it does come down to actual hand to hand combat, Max continues to prove that he is absolutely relentless, like a WDC is, and so he has set himself up perfectly for the other drivers to be wary when they’re around him. If they think they’ve gotten by, they better not assume he isn’t actually right there still in their blind spot.

        1. +1

          It amazes me how drivers like Sainz still expect him to bail out because most of the other midfielders would; the ones who just fill up the grid and will never win a WC.

  7. Sainz could’ve left more room but I still think Max would pushed him hard to the outside even with more space. It was quite a divebomb

  8. Sainz cannot make a move around the outside and then take the appex at the same time. Max had his front right above the inside kerb, don’t see what more he could’ve done to be honest. If you overtaking on the outside do it properly and leave room for the guy next to you.

    I just know that he went really hard into the corner, he braked really late for being on the inside, he got in the kerb, he hit me very hard.

    Just like Stroll hit him very hard last year? Sainz has to improve this area of his race craft, sometimes he isn’t aware of where others are and ultimately he has been paying for it

    1. @joao I agree. VER braked later and on the inside line still made the corner. SAI had got ahead but braked earlier so was level by the time they reached the corner, should have taken a slightly wider line. Racing incident, but one SAI could probably have avoided. If he hadn’t gone for the apex no doubt VER would still have been next to him coming out of the corner, I guess you don’t want that but it’s preferable to a coming-together. But it’s a game of chicken, isn’t it, and neither wants the other to know that they always crumble when side by side.
      Anyway your point stands: you just have to look at what HAM managed at turn 4, not every time but he didn’t get clobbered either, because he went round the outside but didn’t try to take the apex too.

    2. Sainz cannot make a move around the outside and then take the apex at the same time.

      @johnmilk
      Perfectly summed up. Max did what he reasonably could to avoid contact.

  9. I was going to say something, but… oooh, Sparks!

  10. The return of crashtappen and blaming someone else, you can clearly see verstappen doesn’t let anyone do a fair move on him, he divebombed into the mclaren clipped the kerb and hit him, and sainz left a car width then verstappen comes over the radio and says ‘he closed the door’. Yeh, he closed the door cos, like other drivers do, that’s when you decide to pull out of the move or crash.

    1. Sainz tried to overtake and Max defended. Sainz was not ahead at corner entry so he should have chosen a wider line. A small error in judgement on his side. There was very little Max could have done besides concede the corner as soon as someone tried to outbrake him (which is the weakass way and will never make you a winner/champion).
      Adjust your views based on facts or be degraded to just another hater.

    2. One ‘divebombs’ when they come from behind…in this came Verstappen was in front and stayed in front, on top, it was Sainz that made a move and Verstappen maintaining the racingline wich has every right to.

      Sainz squeezed to much and payed the price for it, it’s as simple as that, you can not simply expect driver to move over in racing.

      1. One ‘divebombs’ when they come from behind…in this came Verstappen was in front and stayed in front

        That’s not correct. As the replay shows, Sainz was clearly ahead at the braking point, but Verstappen braked much later and made up at least a car length this way.
        I’m not saying this should’ve been penalised, but saying a divebomb is impossible just because you were ahead shortly before an incident, doesn’t make sense.

        1. Yes, braking a bit later into a corner to defend against an overtake is both allowed and, quite frankly, should be encouraged.

          I do wonder at what point we stopped wanting people to fight for positions and just yield whenever a car get slightly ahead of them at the end of a straight (and/or DRS zone).

          1. @aiii Agreed. Well said. And the other drivers should know by now not to assume anything with Max. If you think you’ve gotten by, perhaps think again as he may still be right there with you.

          2. @aiii

            I do wonder at what point we stopped wanting people to fight for positions and just yield whenever a car get slightly ahead of them at the end of a straight (and/or DRS zone).

            I do wonder at what point you came to the conclusion that what you were going to write was in any way related to my comment.

  11. Nothing to complain about on either side. They both could’ve done more to avoid making contact, but the Stewards had no reason to get involved.
    I just think it’s a crying shame that Sainz’ race was torn to shreds in such a minor racing incident. He had some giant-slaying pace and was shaping up to be the first driver in a midfield car to outrace Red Bull on sheer pace.

  12. Max should learn the overtaking Precision from the Multiple World champions. Lewis and Vettel raced and overtook each other hard but with so much precision. Max is regularly making contact during overtakes. When Stroll was unlapping himself the commentary team got excited that its Max and a pink car again.
    I am not saying he is fully at fault as Sainz didnt leave much room either but Max is already one down for the season. The next contact he makes which is likely soon, it might be him getting puncture and coming worse.

    1. @amg44 Did Verstappen and Stroll make contact when Stroll was unlapping himself? No, they were nowhere near each other. Take no notice of commentators who are just as likely as the rest of us to get over excited during a race (see one M. Walker for details).

      They only mentioned it at all because of the idiotic move Ocon attempted on Verstappen at Brazil 2018.

    2. I have been a critic of Max’s racing in the past and for this incident initially but I don’t really see how he could have been more inside because Sainz pinched him so much. Compare that to how Hamilton or others take a much wider line in overtaking their

  13. The result of the collision was really harsh on Sainz. I hope he bounces back in China and McLaren maintains its pace. It’s really looking promising so far.

  14. Max got a slow puncture from this, so maybe not 1 down (in your words)?

    Being hard to overtake is a quality not a curse. Sainz should’ve just leave room on the inside when fighting for position. But he probably couldn’t imagine Max could brake that late and assumed he was gone. Because Sainz is no Max level.

    It’s a shame the SC came out or Max would have 3 more points from with a pretty bad redbull car. He’s having the best season start of his career, hopefully they figure out the car ASAP so he can look up in the WDC from his current 3rd place.

  15. It’s clear imho that Sainz didn’t leave enough room for Verstappen as he was still inside him.
    Bottas handled the overtake in the same corner a bit later a lot better, leaving enough space for Verstappen and going around in front of him.

    1. Wow, wow, wow, wow, Vers was inside Sainz? What did I miss here? I thought both of them had beautiful girlfriends… XDDD

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