Formula 1 Racing

Sainz’s Monaco F1 red flag reprieve “frustrating and unfair”

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-24, Lando Norris, McLaren MCL38

Sainz had initially picked up a puncture after a clash with Oscar Piastri at the first corner, and his car skidded to a halt and appeared to be out of the race at Casino Square.

But the pile-up involving Red Bull’s Sergio Perez and the two Haas cars brought out a red flag a few moments later, and served to give Sainz a lifeline.

According to F1’s sporting regulations, the order for the restart: “will be taken at the last point at which it was possible to determine the position of all cars. All such cars will then be permitted to resume the sprint session or the race.”

While most cars had run through the first timing sector on the run down to Mirabeau before the red flag came out, the delayed Sauber of Guanyu Zhou had not – so the FIA determined that the order at safety car line two had to be used for the second attempt to get going.

That meant Sainz was effectively promoted from starting at the back to taking his original third spot on the grid, which he then duly converted into a podium finish.

For Norris, who had been running third before the red flag, seeing Sainz retake his P3 slot was not something he was happy about.

“I don’t think it’s the most fair thing, but I’m sure there’s been moments in the past where maybe I’ve been fortunate from it and they could have they fixed the car a little bit or something like that,” he said.

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-24, Lando Norris, McLaren MCL38

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

“When you think of it in just a blunt way, it is frustrating and unfair, that because someone makes a mistake and because of a certain amount of cars or whatever, whatever the rule is, didn’t cross the line before the red flag and blah, blah, that he gets to undo that mistake and gets a free pit stop. It’s unfair.”

Norris was not alone in thinking that the situation seemed hard to understand. Mercedes’ George Russell said: “It’s not correct. I don’t know what the ruling is exactly. But yeah, that was a bit strange.”

McLaren boss Andrea Stella was more considered about things, as he accepted that the rules were implemented in the right manner – but he acknowledged how lucky Sainz had been.

“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 after the race.

“Also it is in agreement with the precedent, whereby you use the safety car line two when sector times are not available. I don’t think…

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