The 2023 Belgian Grand Prix was held at Spa-Francorchamps and won by Max Verstappen

“Optimistic move” by Piastri at turn one caused collision – Sainz

2023 Belgian Grand Prix

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Carlos Sainz Jnr blamed Oscar Piastri for the collision between the two at the start of the Belgian Grand Prix, saying he should have backed out of trying to pass him.

Piastri retired soon after their first lap collision while Sainz soldiered on with a damaged car, dropping down the order and eventually joining his rival in retirement.

Sainz was attempting to pass Lewis Hamilton when the pair made contact. The Ferrari driver locked up his front tyres and swung towards the inside of the corner.

However Piastri was looking down his inside at the time and the pair made contact. Sainz said his rival should have known from reviewing past races that the move would not succeed.

“I was on the attack with Lewis and I think I pretty much had the move done into turn one,” he said. “I hit the apex cleanly and everything.

“But unfortunately I think Oscar was trying to do a bit of an optimistic move on me I think. A bit of a shame because when you review the past races here in Spa and you know what’s been the difficult turn one incidents it’s exactly that. Everyone who tried the inside line into turn one normally generates an incident or a crash and tries to really make it around there normally generates an incident or a crash. And this time it was my turn to receive it.”

Despite his lock-up, Sainz insisted he had not braked too late for the first corner. “I didn’t go deep,” he said. “I made perfectly the apex and passed Lewis. If you look at my onboard, yes, I do lock up, but I don’t go deep into the corner.”

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“At some point someone needs to back out,” Sainz added. “He’s the guy who is alongside my rear-right that I think needs to back off the move and not me and let him pass me into turn one, especially when I’m pretty much having my move done with Lewis.”

Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Spa-Francorchamps, 2023
Gallery: 2023 Belgian Grand Prix in pictures

However Piastri said he was surprised by Sainz’s change of direction going into the corner at the start and couldn’t have done more to avoid him. “From Carlos’s point of view, the move to the right surprised me a bit,” he said.

“For myself, I think from there I was quite limited. Maybe I could have braked a bit later and been further alongside. But it’s very easy to say that with hindsight.

“I think once once I was in that position, it was quite hard to either go forward or go backwards. And I was just kind of stuck. So I tried to do the best that I could from that position but there wasn’t much I could do.”

The McLaren driver believes “we both could have done things a bit differently” to avoid the collision.

“I think it’s quite firmly in the category of a lap one, turn one incident,” he said. “I got a good start and put my nose alongside. And then when we got to the braking zone, Carlos moves a bit to the right and locked up and I also had to try to avoid that a bit.

“From that to the apex, my options were quite limited in where I could go. I’ll look back over it more and see if there was more I could have done but just a shame that we’re standing here and not still on-track.”

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2023 Belgian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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25 comments on ““Optimistic move” by Piastri at turn one caused collision – Sainz”

  1. Maybe somewhat optimistic, although Sainz could’ve equally given a bit more space.

  2. Uh-huh, sure Sainz, it wasn’t you locking up the tires, then throwing the car on the inside and ignoring Piastri was there…

    1. Like he said, he was overtaking Hamilton! Should be fair enough to expect the rest of the grid to just let them have a bit of fun before doing any moves of their own.

      Seriously though… come on Sainz, your teammate is on the podium. You’re not even classified. Fix your own problems first.

    2. In the first corner rules are often ignored, but it was mostly Carlos’ fault and worth of a penalty in other circumstances

      1. Agreed, I suspect the only reason he didn’t get a penalty was because it was L1T1

      2. Agreed. Locking up then coming all the way across. You can not expect no-one to be there. Can happen, but he didnt own up to it and blamed Piastri and that is a bit hard to take and doesn’t exactly reflects the maturity he should have by now. I guess his damage was sufficiently enough for race control not to penalise him. I understand the lap 1, turn 1 mitigating stuff but a point on his license would be fair as a warning not to repeat such a move.

  3. BLS (@brightlampshade)
    30th July 2023, 16:30

    Carlos is aware these races are filmed right? We all saw him locking up and chopping across Oscar.

  4. Its been a while I last heard an F1 driver use the optimistic word.
    Unfortunately for Sainz, he was the one being optimistic expecting to go through a car like those 80s video games.

  5. As the car in the middle of the sandwich it should have been Carlos to back out, he just drove into Piastri like he wasn’t there.

    1. TBH I don’t think he needed to back out: There was about a car’s width between him and Hamilton at the point of impact. If he’d just been a bit further to his left, they could all 3 have made it around. It would have been tight, and there may have been a collision on exit, but it was doable.

  6. Similar to what happened in COTA last year. He moves as if it wasn’t race start and everybody is trying to position themselves.

    If you’re changing lines like that right after the start you’re likely to hit someone.

    1. The incident was in part caused by the violent changes of direction by Perez at the start that should of at least been reviewed. If we are talking about dubious movement he was the worst offender.

  7. Interesting that it wasn’t even investigated! Makes yesterday’s penalty even more questionable. Although sadly of course we all know the real reason. Warwick really needs to go, I have no time for his prehistoric views.

    1. Not sure what’s prehistoric about this? It’s been mentioned many times on commentary that the stewards tend to look more leniently on turn 1 / lap 1 incidents.

      1. I was referring to the horrible views of Derek Warwick. He was the driver steward this weekend.

        1. Ben, the “driver steward” is just one steward on the team of, I think, five stewards. Every race must have at least one ex-driver on the panel. A lot of people think that the driver steward is the one looking at incidents and making the decisions about driving standards. He isn’t.

          1. Alan. I know exactly how it works.

        2. Alan. I know exactly how it works.

          If this is the case, why are you making it seem like you do not know how it work?

          1. @cairnsfella If you think the driver stewards don’t have a large influence then you’re very much mistaken. I know full well there’s a team of stewards as it’s literally published each race.

            My point( which you,Dave and Alan) managed to Miss completely was regarding Warwick directly. As you seem unaware he contributed massively to the AD 21 fiasco (as published), owns his own Honda dealership and has made racist comments towards Hamilton in the past.

            It seems crazy to me that he’s let anywhere near race control with what I’d consider a massive conflict of interest.

  8. Stop inventing, Carlos.

  9. Another harassment? Sainz is one of the more reasonable guys in F1, but this time it’s fair to say his judgement got clouded (both in T1 and when he was giving this statement).

  10. Like Oscar said, they both could have done more to avoid the contact. Carlos was cutting across and aiming for the apex ignoring the possiblity of a car being on his inside. So for his own sake Oscar should have backed off and not put it in Carlos blindspot. With the nature of the corner and more cars on the outside it was sort of an optimistic move to be fair.

    1. I think Oscar did backed off but Carlos went right after locking up surprising Oscar. That is what Max said who was behind them he backup off and moved slightly to the left to give space before they collide and blocked the corner.
      Carlos went too fast to the right.

  11. Sainz went in too hot, locked his brakes then swerved right to avoid rear-ending Hamilton. Unfortunately Piastri was already there. A bit amateurish from Carlos, no wonder he’s trying to pin it on the rookie…

  12. I think Perez’s aggressive moves are the root cause of everything what happened.
    He switched from left to the very right to the very left and all (faster) competitors behind had a hard time finding a gap. That’s why two of them ended up in the same location.

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