The inaugural Formula One Las Vegas Grand Prix was eventful from turn one. In fact, with the leaders running wide, Carlos Sainz spinning, and Fernando Alonso performing a full pirouette, it was messy even by new-track standards. According to Sainz, the chaos wasn't caused by sloppy driving.
Speaking with Last Word on Sports, Sainz noted that a classic car had leaked oil on the inside of Turn 1 during a parade lap. The marshals caught it and cleaned up the spill, but the Ferrari driver claims that the grip level on the inside of that corner was still lower than on the rest of the track. Per Last Word on Sports, he said:
“It is not fair that all the oil was on the inside line. Apart from the dirty track already being there, we put cars on that are leaking oil on tack an hour before the race.
“Again, this is unacceptable. That probably cost us with the crashes into Turn 1[...] I think Fernando also spun, [there were] drivers with a lot of experience finding just zero grip.”
It wouldn't be the first time Sainz faced a setback in Vegas through no fault of his own. He hit a poorly secured drainage cover during the first practice round. The damage destroyed his chassis and battery, necessitating replacement. Teams are limited on how many times they can replace these components and—despite the stewards recognizing this incident was not his fault—the rules demanded that Sainz receive a 10-place grid penalty.
All in, it was an unlucky weekend for Sainz. Despite the challenges, though, he still managed to finish in sixth place. The only car that really slowed him down was a leaky classic.
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