Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz reveals that he had to change his steering wheel ahead of the start of the Australian Grand Prix, but takes the blame for the spin that put him out of the race.
A red flag caused by Fernando Alonso followed by a starter issue meant that Sainz began the race in Melbourne in ninth while team-mate Charles Leclerc took pole, and the Spaniard then lost five positions off the start line after the anti-stall kicked in.
As it turns out, the team changed his steering wheel moments before the drivers set off on the formation lap, and the different settings caught him out off the start.
However, he took responsibility for the spin that sent him into the gravel on lap two.
“I’m not sure if [the start] was a mistake, I did a mistake misjudging the grip for sure,” he told Sky Sports.
“We had again issues with the steering wheel, we had to change the steering wheel one minute before leaving at the formation lap and the steering wheel was not well positioned at some switches, which meant at the start I was getting anti-stall.
“I started with hard [tyres] with anti-stall going on the back foot.
“Having been in a rush to overtake and come back, clearly I did a mistake on the hard tyre when the tyre was probably not ready to be pushed and I tried to overtake people, so not great.
“We haven’t been perfect this weekend, it’s been a bit of a disaster so we need to learn from it, and I was the first one to make a mistake also today.”
The 27-year-old is optimistic that his fortunes can improve when they travel to one of their two home races this year in Imola in two weeks’ time, but he stresses that there are improvements to be made before then.
“It should be better, we just need to make sure we don’t do this kind of mistakes like we’ve been doing all weekend with the problems that I had on my side of the garages, and I [need to] stay a bit more patient when we need to be patient but the car is there to win every race,” he affirmed.
Sainz divulges that the new technical regulations have made the cars difficult to acclimatise to, and that bit him on Sunday.
“The cars are a bit more tricky, the hard tyres are harder, they are more difficult to manage in the starts and today I paid the price of it,” he added.
“Of course there’s human errors going on, especially at the beginning of the season [while] we learn these cars.
“But it’s not an excuse, I shouldn’t have done the mistake and we shouldn’t have the problems with the steering that we had yesterday and today.”
Team-mate Leclerc won the race by over 20 seconds from Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, extending his lead at the top of the Drivers’ Standings to 34 points from George Russell, who ended the race third.