Carlos Sainz’s miserable weekend at the Australian Grand Prix continued as the Ferrari driver spun out on the second lap of Sunday’s race.
Having qualified ninth, well adrift of team-mate and pole-sitter Charles Leclerc, the 27-year-old lost five places on the opening lap after a difficult start in hot Melbourne conditions.
Quickest in first practice on Friday, Sainz and his team were left caught out in Q3 by a red flag caused by an apparent hydraulic failure and subsequent crash for Alpine’s Fernando Alonso.
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This led the Scuderia driver to go into his final flying lap with what he described as “freezing” tyres, resulting in little grip as his team suffered delays starting his car ahead of Q3’s resumption.
As he looked to recover from a difficult opening lap on hard tyres, the Spaniard attempted an ambitious high-speed overtake on the outside of Haas’ Mick Schumacher, only to go in too hot and find himself sliding across the grass after failing to make the corner.
Unable to maintain control, the Ferrari car spun across the face of the circuit and found itself in the gravel trap at the exit of turn 10.
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Despite being deep in the gravel, Sainz was keen for his race to continue with the help of the stewards, saying to his team over radio: “Tell them to push me if they can”.
However, a message of “Engine off, engine off” from the pit wall confirmed that his race was over.
A DNF at Albert Park will be of bitter disappointment to Sainz, who has found himself on the podium in both the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix and the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in Jeddah two weeks ago.
He currently trails team-mate Leclerc by 12 points in the drivers’ championship standings, although that is likely to increase with the Monegasque driver at the head of the field after an assured start.
Sainz’s spin resulted in an early safety car, allowing Red Bull duo Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, either side of Lewis Hamilton who made good ground off the start line, to close the gap to the current race leader.
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