Carlos Sainz Jnr described the state of the grid at the start of the Las Vegas Grand Prix as “unacceptable” following an oil spill before the race.
A classic car which was supposed to carry Lewis Hamilton around the circuit during the pre-race drivers’ parade suffered an oil leak which coated the left-hand side of the grid with slippery fluid.
Despite the efforts of the F1 and track workers to soak up as much of the fluids as possible using cement dust, the race began with large patches of the inside of the circuit covered in dust.
Sainz was one of several drivers involved in incidents at the first corner. The Ferrari driver spun after hitting the rear of Hamilton’s Mercedes, while Fernando Alonso also spun after losing control of his Aston Martin through the first corner.
“I saw a lot of oil from the cars that we used to do the drivers parade, which is another thing for the FIA to look at, because it is not fair that all the oil was on the inside line,” Sainz said.
“Apart from the dirty track already being there, on top of that, we put cars that are leaking oil into the track one hour before the race – it’s unacceptable. That probably caused a lot of the crashes into turn one.”
Sainz said he was especially cautious approaching the first corner but found even less grip than he anticipated.
“You never expect it to be so bad,” he said.
Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and
“I just touched the brake, not even hit it and the tyres were locked. I didn’t even brake that late, I braked around the 100 metre board but arriving 100kph slower than on a quali lap. The cold tyres probably also played a role. It was absolutely shocking, lap one, and I think we all struggled.”
Despite facing the wrong way at turn one, Sainz eventually recovered through the race to finish in sixth place after pitting under the early Safety Car.
“After lap one and being nearly dead last to come back for a P6 was definitely a good comeback and damage limitation,” he said. “I did everything I could. It was an issue also with the graining in traffic, it was almost impossible not to open the graining following other cars.
“We couldn’t overtake people because of trying to protect the engine. We also had to protect the tyres with the graining. So it was never going to be an easy race, an easy comeback. So to make it all the way back from nearly dead last to be P6 has to be a good…