Carlos Sainz Jnr, Ferrari, Yas Marina, 2023

Sainz points finger at Russell and Gasly for ‘giving dirty air on purpose’ after Q1 exit

Formula 1

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Carlos Sainz Jnr claimed two of his rivals compromised his qualifying lap by failing to get out of his way quickly enough when he failed to make the cut for Q2.

The Ferrari driver told his team two cars had been slow to move off-line when he caught them at the start of his final flying lap in Q1. He fell short of progressing to the next stage by just over a tenth of a second.

“I had so much traffic,” he told his team after he was told he’d not made the cut for Q2. “I think people, the Mercedes did it on purpose. Did it turn five ahead of me, the Alpine turn two-three.”

Sainz followed Pierre Gasly through turn one and the turns two-three-four combination as he began his first lap, before the Alpine moved out of the way. He then followed George Russell through turn five, and tried to gain the benefit of a slipstream from his rival on the straight which followed as he passed. The gother Mercedes, belonging to Lewis Hamilton, let him past on the following straight.

The Ferrari driver was convinced some of his rivals were intentionally staying on the racing line as long as possible on in-laps to disadvantage any rival behind them.

“It’s difficult to say, but there were cars out there today and between us drivers we know that if you do a corner two seconds in front of another car, one second or two seconds in front, you’re going to make him lose a tenth or two in that corner,” said Sainz. “And I see people, as the weekends have gone by, relaxing a bit on that.

“When it’s tight in Q1 and Q2 I see people giving a bit of dirty air on purpose in some corners to maybe make the others lose some time in corners. Which we don’t consider impeding, because it’s not like you need to lift. But you’re giving him dirty air and you’re giving him a bad run in that corner.

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“By going out last, I made everything, basically all sector one and two, very close to the cars in front and I found myself losing tenths and tenths per corner.”

Sainz said the time he lost on that run was crucial as he expected he needed a clean run to get into Q2. “Clearly, the pace all weekend hasn’t been the strongest and we needed a perfect Q1 and Q2 given how tight the field is,” he said. “And we had a very scrappy Q1.

“We went out very late and the last run we had a problem on the front wing, which sent us the last car out. And once I opened my last lap, I found myself in a load of traffic in sector one and two and I lost a couple of tenths there that probably caused me to disappointing Q2.”

However Daniel Ricciardo laughed off Sainz’s complaint, saying the Ferrari driver often does the same to other drivers in practice.

“I don’t know why he does it, but he is always the culprit,” the Alphatauri driver chuckled. “I don’t know why – he hasn’t upset me this weekend – but I don’t know if he’s just messing with us, but he definitely seems to be the one that everyone likes to talk about in terms of impeding and whatever.”

When RaceFans pointed out Ricciardo will start one place ahead of Sainz tomorrow, he added: “I’m going to speak to him – I know he upsets some people in practice and stuff, he’s normally the ‘upsetter’ when he gets in the way.

“So I’m going to tell him to maybe not press his left foot too much into turn one tomorrow and upset some people and help me out.”

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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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7 comments on “Sainz points finger at Russell and Gasly for ‘giving dirty air on purpose’ after Q1 exit”

  1. I’m with you Carlos. It is not paranoia if they really are after you.

    1. Yep, I’m with you there @davedai

      By going out last,, I made everything, basically all sector one and two, very close to the cars in front and I found myself losing tenths and tenths per corner.”

      Hmm, does this suggest a possible alternative cure that does not depend on competition being decent or generous?

  2. I used to work next to a guy who gave out a lot of dirty air, I’m being honest here.
    I often suspected it was done on purpose!

  3. Sure. Highly doubtful.

  4. I’m hearing that RUS called GAS last night and they discussed doing this to SAI.

  5. As I was reading the article, I’m thinking Carlos sounds like he is talking from experience of purposefully throwing dirty air. Then I got to the RIC part – had a good laugh.

    I get it, SAI has had a terrible 7 days putting 2 cars in the bin both having assist from the track. I suspect the lack of track and setup time had more of a factor in Q1 exit than GAS or RUS throwing dirty air.

  6. Getting sick of Kermit the Sainz’s nonstop whining.

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