After the Australian sought out Ferrari driver Daniel Ricciardo to apologise for their turn one incident at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Carlos Sainz applauded his sportsmanship.
Sainz had come into the weekend looking to avenge a two-lap performance in front of the Scuderia’s adoring Tifosi at the Australian Grand Prix, but he got off to the worst possible start by crashing during Q2 on Friday.
Despite the customary difficulty in overtaking around the ancient Imola track due to its tiny and complex layout, Sainz made simple work of scything from 10th to fourth in Saturday’s race.
With rain foreshadowing a soggy start to the grand prix for the second time in a row in Emilia Romagna, Sainz got off to a bad start and was under pressure from Ricciardo entering Tamburello.
For the second time in as many races, the McLaren driver battled on the inside but slipped wide after brushing the kerb, colliding with Sainz’s left-rear wheel and leaving the Ferrari beached in the gravel.
“As soon as I hit him, I saw him spinning and it was not fun,”Ricciardo, remarked after the race.
“It ruined my race but also his. I obviously have to be accountable for that. I don’t think it was something where I was all locked up and ploughed into him.”
Ricciardo went straight to the Ferrari motorhome to apologise to Sainz for the blunder that lost the driver he replaced his job at the Woking-based team, a gesture that was greatly appreciated.
“It says a lot about Daniel as an athlete and as a sportsman,” hailed Sainz. “Immediately after the race, you could see he’s had a tough one but the first thing he did was to come to the Ferrari box and apologise to me.
“There were the mechanics with me and we all thanked him for the gesture.”
“That’s why there are no hard feelings with Daniel,” Sainz said, explaining how the timing of the incident was far from perfect.
“What happened to him could happen to anyone, but, unfortunately, it had to happen to me coming after the crash at Melbourne.
“It’s how it is. The incident has no mystery to it. If you see the onboard and what happened, it’s very clear to everyone.”