McLaren Formula 1 driver Carlos Sainz Jr has called Romain Grosjean’s defensive move in the British Grand Prix “unacceptable” because the Frenchman reacted to the movement of the car behind.
The Haas driver was shown a black and white flag and then received a post-race warning from the stewards after last weekend’s race following two controversial moves, the first in front of Sainz and the second with Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo.
“Personally I think it was unacceptable,” said Sainz of the move Grosjean made on him.
“From the driver’s point of view, when you are behind someone, it doesn’t matter if you leave a gap on the right hand side as he claimed he was leaving, I think you cannot react to a movement of the driver behind you.
“I think you need to commit to your defence, to your line, and not react to the driver that is coming behind. He was clearly waiting for me to make a move to cut me off the track, I think that is unacceptable.
“If I have a chat I will tell him, I think he will agree if he would have been in my position, although he probably will not admit it in the media. But we all know, with the speeds that we’re doing in F1 nowadays and he probably knows that what he did is not correct.”
After the race Ricciardo called into question Grosjean’s driving, but asked to elaborate today he played down the incident, and acknowledged that Grosjean had realised he moved too late.
“I think sketchy most people understand,” he said. “It’s like sketchy, dodgy, little bit on the edge. Edgy, probably! So we were called into the stewards after the race to analyse it. And at that point I wasn’t aware of his move with Carlos as well. So there’s obviously two times which are a bit close in the race.
“I didn’t want to… He’s been doing it long enough, and I think when he saw the replay from our on-board, he understood that it was quite close, and a bit late. I think it’s just about really, for us drivers, I think in defence, you make your move, you commit.
“I think responding to the car behind is always a bit on the edge, for the closing speeds and in the slipstream. The closing speeds, it’s sometimes too much to react once they have.
“So I think really, if you’re defending, it’s really just about making a move first, making that clear and then we go from there. So it’s just avoiding that grey area, which can be the sketchy area.”
Grosjean initially insisted that he had no regrets about the moves, but has since said while he was too late with the Ricciardo move, he had left Sainz space.
“I was defending as hard as I could,” he said. “It’s my job, trying to stay within the limit. I had a chance to see the footage, and I do agree on Daniel, I moved too late. I was always going to give the room for one car, but obviously he doesn’t know that when I’m moving. I moved too late and reacted to the right, and it was a bit too late.
“On Carlos, I think he came on the radio, I don’t know really. It wasn’t that bad. There was plenty of room and plenty of margin. For us, it’s not every day that we’re in the top five racing, and as I say, I do my best for the team, I do my best for myself. I felt one was a bit marginal, but the first one, there was plenty of room.”