Sainz suspects problems at the F1 launch in Brazil were caused by a faulty clutch

Sainz suspects problems at the F1 launch in Brazil were caused by a faulty clutch

The Spaniard was sixth on the grid after Charles Leclerc retired on the formation lap but lost on the escape to Sergio Perez and George Russell to fall to eighth by the time the race was red-flagged due to a big turn at Turn 1 involving Alex Albon and Kevin. Magnussen.

Sainz then got on the radio to say his team needed to “throw the clutch” while bemoaning the starting problems all weekend. He later complained of the left shift paddle being “sticky.”

The Singapore Grand Prix winner confirmed that it was a faulty part and not a calibration issue.

When asked by Motorsport.com to explain his bad holiday, Sainz said: “(It was) the same as what happened (Saturday) and the same as every start I made this weekend.

“I’m very disappointed because obviously it cost us some points over the weekend.

“We had a problem from the beginning of training. We couldn’t really adjust and adapt him to the track and we were struggling a lot with breaks which is very unfortunate.

Sainz added that launches had been a strength for Ferrari all season but he quickly realized that the team was “struggling a lot”.

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23

Photography: Red Bull Content Pool

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23

Sainz’s reliability concerns came after his teammate, Charles Leclerc, who shared second place, was involved in an accident on the formation lap due to an electronic fault that killed the engine hydraulics and power steering system.

“Thank God nothing happened to me,” Sainz said. “It’s a shame because I think with Charles in the race it would have been a great opportunity to take the points away from Mercedes.

“But also, the pace of the car wasn’t great either. So, Aston (Martin), McLaren and Red Bull were at the front, and we couldn’t confront them much. A missed opportunity I think.”

Ferrari team boss Fred Vasseur believes the clutch problems for Sainz were not as widespread as his driver said, saying the start on the restart after the red flag was correct.

The French engineer explained: “At first he had a bad start. The second one went well. We need to understand exactly what happened the first time, but it wasn’t the best.

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“We struggled a little bit at the start. Obviously, if you take a look, it’s marginal but the second one went well.

“(Interlagos) is a little bit harder too because you start with your position a little bit further up the hill.”

Vasseur believes Sainz’s gear shifting problem lasted only one corner.

Additional reporting by Adam Cooper

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