Carlos Sainz Jnr, Ferrari, Interlagos, 2022

Sainz admits “big mistakes” cost him front-row start

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In the round-up: Carlos Sainz Jnr admits he should be higher than fifth on the grid for today’s Interlagos sprint race.

In brief

Sainz said qualifying was “absolutely crazy with the weather” which made tyre choices difficult, especially in Q3. Ferrari put him on slick tyres for the final round of qualifying, as eventual pole-winner Kevin Magnussen also used, while Charles Leclerc went out on intermediates in the other Ferrari.

“We tried to be up in the queue first but we lost quite a bit of time behind Charles and we lost a lot of time to Kevin,” said Sainz. “This meant that he had probably a drier track than us at that point.

“I tried to push a lot and probably over-pushed, did a couple of big mistakes, big moments that probably cost me P2 or P3.

“But P1 today for Kevin I think he deserves it, I’m a big fan of him and I’m happy for him.”

Szafnauer wants rethink over Gasly’s penalty points

Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri, Interlagos, 2022
Gasly will arrive at Alpine with 10 points on his licence
Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer says it would be unfair if Pierre Gasly is forced to miss a race after he joins the team next year due to penalty points largely accumulated at his current team, AlphaTauri.

Gasly currently has 10 penalty points on his superlicence, leaving him two away from an automatic one-race ban, with no points due to be deducted until next year’s Monaco Grand Prix.

“It’s unfortunate that he got those points with a different team,” Szafnauer told Sky. “If he does happen to cross the threshold of having too many and has to miss a race with us, I’m not sure that’s what the rule was intended to do, to punish a different team. But it is what it is, unless we can get it changed.”

Szafnauer said the rule makers should reflect on whether the penalty points system is “really punishing the driver or the team?” He suggested Gasly may have accrued some of his points for failing to yield positions to other drivers when his team should have advised him to do so.

“I’m sure there are considerations this year to give places back where perhaps the team said ‘don’t’ and you get penalty points and some other things,” said Szafnauer. “I think we have to re-look at it and make sure that it’s equitable.”

Qualifying disappointment for Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo were disappointed to see both their drivers drop out in Q1 after Valtteri Bottas ran in the top 10 in practice for the Brazilian Grand Prix.

“When you have pace in practice, as we did today, going out with two cars in Q1 is definitely not the result you expect,” said team principal Frederic Vasseur. “Unfortunately, we didn’t make the most of the changing conditions and we ended up paying the price for it.”

Bottas said they got their strategy wrong in Q1. “We made the call to go with intermediate tyres when pitting and that turned out to be the wrong choice. On my in-lap, I saw a Williams struggling and decided to stay on the inters. We realised softs were the best option and pitted again, but two laps were not enough to bring these tyres [up] to temperature.”

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Comment of the day

PeterG says those congratulating Kevin Magnussen for taking his first pole position have jumped the gun.

Shame it’s not actually pole position.

He won qualifying and that was a great result for him and the team but pole position will be the driver who starts the grand prix on pole position on Sunday.

I mean, if KMag scored the pole then what do we call the pole position sitter on Sunday?

It’s the details such as this that highlight how absurd this sprint format is because all it has done is create these extra complexities. On a normal weekend nobody would dispute KMag as the pole sitter but on a sprint weekend he really isn’t and the fact the sprint format creates these messes just highlights how bad, awful and unnecessary the silly format is.

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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11 comments on “Sainz admits “big mistakes” cost him front-row start”

  1. Totally agree with COTD.

    Surprise poles from smaller teams are usually amazing to see when they are actually the pole sitter. Nico Hulkenberg at this track in 2010 springs to mind.

    Howevon a sprint weekend it’s still a nice achievement to see Magnussen set the fastest time in qualifying but it then just feels a bit lesser of a deal because regardless of what Liberty want to put in the record books it isn’t really the pole position.

    He won qualifying, He set the fastest time in qualifying but like the 2 day qualifying format before 1996 and in 2003 since the Friday session isn’t what sets the grid for Sunday’s Grand Prix the fastest on Friday can only be referred to as the provisional pole sitter with the actual post sitter been whoever finishes 1st in the the sprint and actually starts Sundays GP on pole position.

    Liberty or the FIA simply changing the wording for sprint weekends to suit there narrative will never alter that fact.

    1. @roger-ayles I’m not a fan of the current sprint format, but I have to respectfully disagree with COTD. The achievement is the achievement — scoring P1 in a qualifying session is in no way diminished by the format of the rest of the weekend.

      The reason the sprint feels meaningless to me is that it is essentially just the first stage of the grand prix with an overnight red flag. Hence, to me, Magnussen is starting the de facto grand prix on pole.

      1. Exactly @markzastrow. Sure, many of us agree here that the sprint thing delutes the value of a pole for the weekend and is confusing when it is not what determines who starts from pole for the main race.

        It still IS the fastest lap in qualifying and Magnussen will certainly start on pole for the sprintRACE which starts of the racing this weekend. Great job from him and good thinking on the HAAS pitwall to give him the oppertunity in tricky conditions. This is exactly the thing that makes sport great, seeing things like this.

  2. I’m sure the Gasly situation will resolve itself this weekend if he maintains his form from this year.
    He has 2 races to punt someone off the track (never his fault of course, just ask him) or do something equally as silly like speed thru waved yellow flags to earn enough points for a rest next weekends race.

  3. So what if Gasly carries all his current penalty points into his next team? This aspect is entirely irrelevant.

    R.I.P Simon Arron, who I was unaware of until today.

    I thought the definition of pole position in Sprint format changed for this season, but I disagree with COTD concerning the achievement’s value.

    1. So what if Gasly carries all his current penalty points into his next team?

      In business, if you buy some other company or resource, you take on the liabilities of that purchased resource.
      Then again, this is Alpine we’re discussing and contracts and other legal items don’t seem to be their strong point.

  4. The Szafnauer complaint is one of the dumbest I’ve ever heard. It’s like, for instance, Manchester City moaning about Cancelo being sent off last week: ‘It wasn’t the team fault, it was a player himself who decided to commit fault, we shouldn’t be penalized’. First of all, you, Otmar, decided to sign Pierre knowing he had already collected several penalty points (7 IIRC). “Second of all”, Otmar, is there any other way of penalizing a driver for misconduct that doesn’t affect the team? A fine for sporting infringements would be ridiculous. And last but not least, Otmar, if Pierre is penalized you can still have another driver in your car, so you can still gain some points.

    Re COTD, of course, it nails it. The amount of troubles Sprint created and we hadn’t before is appalling. We are on a go for a third season with the “invention”, so good its format is going to be twisted again! F1 isn’t still able to find a proper way of run the Sprint but has already decided to expand it to 6 races. It’s just… is anybody thinking behind all of this?

    1. Haas complaints Alonso did not get pulled over. Why can’t Alpine complain Hamilton got points rescinded?

    2. To his credit, he did admit that “I’m not sure that’s what the rule was intended to do”.

  5. He should use his roll of excuses for extra grip.

  6. something i have noticed this year is that on this website and 3-4 other f1 forums and places i hang out online seem to have far less people around them during these sprint weekends.

    so much for this silly format supposedly increasing fan engagement as it seems like there is far less fan engagement on these weekends compared to normal ones.

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