Carlos Sainz admits the crash that caused the first red-flag stoppage of the Tuscan Grand Prix was “properly scary” after a number of drivers collided on the pit straight on a race restart.
The initial start of the race only lasted two corners before a multi-car collision caused a safety car. When the race restarted, Valtteri Bottas had yet to accelerate away but drivers farther back made an error in thinking the leaders had already gone, resulting in a big crash as Antonio Giovinazzi and Sainz ran into the back of Kevin Magnussen on the pit straight.
“Properly scary,” is how Sainz described the incident that red-flagged the race. “We’re doing 290, 300kph (186mph) at that point, because everyone in front of me just thought that we were racing. Suddenly it looks like we were not racing anymore and everyone started braking again. By the time I saw everything it was just too late and it was a big crash. The main thing is we are all OK now.”
The stoppage was the first of two red flags as Lance Stroll later crashed to bring a second interruption, but with it caused by a rolling safety car restart — rather than a standing start as used after red flags nowadays — Sainz says the closing speeds are particularly dangerous.
“It was similar to Brazil last year. It felt like at the back of the grid where I was, everyone in front of me thought that the race was going and we were all flat out until someone realized the race was not on.
“Something definitely to look into, because the speeds we are going at the main straights are very, very big, so the crash I had could have been much worse if one car would have sideways on the main straight and I could have took him. It’s something to learn from here because it’s definitely not a nice feeling to do 280kph and suddenly find three cars in the middle of the straight just stopped.”