We love a bit of Formula 1 beef: Carlos Sainz has made the sensational claim that rookie Oscar Piastri’s ‘inexperience’ caused a dangerous collision heading into the first turn of the Belgian Grand Prix that forced the young Australian driver to retire from the race after just a few seconds. But who was really at fault?
Following lights out at Spa, the Ferrari and McLaren cars endured a first-corner collision that forced F1 rookie Oscar Piastri into the wall. Carlos Sainz was instantly battling Lewis Hamilton for P3, but in his pursuit, locked up, forcing the oncoming Piastri wide as he attacked the available space on the inside.
Oscar Piastri was unable to complete the first lap and suffered an early exit at Spa, while Carlos Sainz struggled with the lasting damage that ended his Belgian Grand Prix on lap 23. The stewards deemed the collision a racing incident but Carlos Sainz has sensationally accused Piastri of inexperience, given the historic danger that this circuit presents.
“My opinion, I’ve been racing in Spa seven or eight years and everyone who has tried that move on the very inside has always generated an incident or a crash.” Carlos Sainz revealed to Sky Sports F1. “If you look back at past starts here, that is normally the case.”
“Maybe a bit of an experience mistake but it’s how it goes… I didn’t miss the apex or anything, I went to attack Lewis and Oscar went to attack Lewis and me, which I think in my opinion was a bit optimistic.”Carlos Sainz
The story of this circuit would encourage caution from the drivers heading into the first turn; such is the instant congestion at the start of the Belgian Grand Prix that drivers inevitably make contact at the pinching point. A blameless racing incident, perhaps, but it certainly wasn’t meant to go this way for Piatri, given his remarkable run in the F1 Sprint.
The rookie had one of his best-ever days in F1 on Saturday, leading the Belgian Sprint – albeit momentarily – overtaking runaway winner Max Verstappen to be the first rookie in 10 years to lead in Formula 1.
Piastri would finish P2, 6.677 seconds behind the inevitable Verstappen and his RB19. But coupled with the back-to-back podium finishes by Piatri’s McLaren teammate Lando Norris in Hungary and Silverstone, there was a renewed optimism that Spa could represent another key track for the Papayas to claim the Best of the Rest title and put more pressure on the teams above them in the Constructor’s.
WATCH Oscar Piastri’s first lap in an F1 car below.
“Today is a shame but I don’t think it takes away the rest of the weekend,” Piastri said to Sky Sports F1. “I’ve been very happy with how I’ve driven, with the pace I’ve had, getting my first top three finish [in the Sprint] is still a highlight.”
The F1 calendar is currently on a mandated summer break over the next 14 days following the conclusion of the Belgian Grand Prix. Next up, Zandvoort.