Formula 1 Racing

Why McLaren believe Sainz had luck on his side three times in Monaco · RaceFans

Why McLaren believe Sainz had luck on his side three times in Monaco · RaceFans

Carlos Sainz Jnr had luck on his side when the race director’s decision moved him up from 16th to third on the grid for the restart.

But McLaren team principal Andrea Stella believes that was one of three times Sainz benefited from good fortune on his way to the podium.

Sainz collided with Oscar Piastri’s McLaren at the race’s original start. That left the Ferrari driver with a puncture and he pulled over with a puncture, dropping him 13 places to 16th.

However the race was red-flagged at that point and race control announced Sainz would be allowed to restart it from his original third place on the grid.

McLaren team principal Andrea Stella had no complaints about that decision. “In terms of the way in which the restart order was determined, I think what the FIA did was the best thing to do,” he said.

The restart order is determined based on the last sector or Safety Car line passed by all drivers. In this case, the order of the drivers at Safety Car Line Two – which is at the pit lane exit – was used.

Sainz was fortunate as only one driver, Zhou Guanyu, had not completed the first sector when the red flag was shown. Had he done so, Sainz would have had to restart the race from 16th. However Zhou was caught behind the three-car crash which triggered the red flag, and had to slow down significantly as a result.

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“It is in agreement with the precedents whereby you use the Safety Car Line Two when sector time is not available,” Stella said. “I don’t think using the mini sectors is a good way of doing that.

“Obviously, the whole point that’s saved Carlos today was that Zhou had not crossed the sector time at the time the race was suspended. Lucky Carlos!”

However Stella believes Sainz was also fortunate not to be penalised for damaging Piastri’s car, as he was in Miami. “He was also applied a lenient approach from the stewards because the collision in corner one obviously created significant damage to Oscar’s car,” said Stella.

Sainz also avoided a penalty for impeding Alexander Albon in qualifying yesterday. Had he been penalised, McLaren’s Lando Norris would have started third instead of him. “I think these are summed up with yesterday’s impeding,” said Stella.

He drew a comparison between Sainz’s incident in qualifying yesterday and Piastri’s three-place grid drop at the previous race in Imola.

“Like I say, lucky Carlos, this gained him a podium, we are happy for…

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