CARLOS SAINZ is out of the Austrian Grand Prix after another mechanical failure for Ferrari.
F1 preview: A lap of the Austrian Grand Prix
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Carlos Sainz was forced out of the Austrian Grand Prix after his Ferrari burst into flames after an engine failure. Sainz’s car suddenly slowed on the exit of Turn Three with smoke billowing from the rear of his Ferrari and flames then began to pour out of his car as he rushed to get out of his seat.
The car came to rest on the outside of Turn Four but burst into flames moments later. Fire was seen ripping across the bodywork, inches from Sainz who was still in the car frantically waving down fire crews to save the car.
Sainz jumped out of the car unscathed moments later and cut a dejected figure by the side of the track. The Spaniard was hunting down Max Verstappen on fresh tyres and it appeared a second-placed finish looked a certainty.
The Ferrari driver vented his frustration on team radio as his car let go on him, screaming: “Engine, engine, no, no, no, no.”
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Moments later, Charles Leclerc messaged his team to complain of a throttle issue. He said: “Throttle pedal feels a bit strange.” Ferrari responded the computers showed there were no issues but the Monegasque continued to raise suspicions. A lap later, Leclerc added: “What’s happening?! What’s happening with the throttle?”
The Monegasque managed to clinch a much-needed race win but Sainz’s retirement is a big blow to his championship challenge just a week after picking up his first career win at the British Grand Prix. Sainz started the Spielberg race just 11 points behind Leclerc in the standings but this will now be extended to a massive 36.
Ferrari have been reluctant to use team orders this season but with Sainz’s gap now almost as big as Leclerc’s to Verstappen, this might now change. However, the Prancing Horse has been plagued by mechanical issues this season with Leclerc being forced out of the Spanish and Azerbaijan Grands Prix with issues.
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Carlos Sainz looked dejected after his retirement (Image: F1 / Twitter)
It has allowed Red Bull to chase down the Scuderia’s early-season advantage with Verstappen now enjoying a commanding championship lead. Leclerc’s win still leaves the Dutchman 38 points ahead at the halfway stage of the season.
Addressing his throttle issues after the race, Leclerc said: “I had this issue with the throttle. It would get stuck at 20 or 30 per cent throttle in the low speeds, so it was very tricky. We managed to make it stick until the end and I am so happy.
“Weirdly was more or less the same time [as Sainz’s retirement], so I had it in my mind. I knew it was not a problem with the engine because it was the pedal that was feeling weird. Luckily it went until the end of the race.”