Carlos Sainz and Romain Grosjean speak on driving limits in F1 as Sebastian Vettel open up on meeting Otmar Szafnauer with Alexander Albon on his approach.
The post-British GP talk had McLaren’s Sainz and Haas’ Grosjean share their views on dangerous driving with Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo and McLaren’s Lando Norris also joining in. The Australian indicated that the topic will be raised in the drivers’ briefing.
It was mostly down to Grosjean moving under braking while defending his position during British GP, something which he felt was on the limit but wasn’t for his F1 rivals and to a certain extent, even with the FIA Stewards, who left him with a warning.
The talks continued ahead of this weekend’s F1 70th Anniversary race as Sainz maintained his ‘unacceptable’ stance, while Grosjean had more in his defence. It is a 50-50 situation but with the FIA warning, the Frenchman will have to be extra careful when speaking to media including Racefans.net, Motorsport Network, BBC, Reuters and more.
Sainz: “Personally I think it was unacceptable from the drivers 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.”
Grosjean: “Yes, I was defending as hard as I could, it’s my job, trying to stay within the limit. So it’s quite interesting. Two times actually the moves were not under braking, they were still on a straight line, so I guess we were going into a different regulation.
“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. Top speed is not our strength. We know that when there is a car behind, the straight line is not our favourite moment, and we need to defend and be a bit creative.
“I guess we just need to try to do the best we ca not defend the position. I knew it was a key moment in the race, that if I could open a gap with the positions behind, maybe we had a chance with a late pit stop in coming back through the field to get points.
“I played my own card as best I could. I’ve got no regret over the race. As I said on Daniel, it was a bit marginal. It’s not an excuse, but our mirrors are not the best in the world. I got caught a little bit by that. If not, I think the other one was fine.
“I actually enjoyed the use of black and white flags. I think it’s a good regulation that was brought this year, and gives us an idea of what is right and what is wrong. I think the first time I had it wasn’t really necessary. I would definitely of had one for Daniel.”
Moving on to Vettel, another post-weekend snippet from F1 Photographer Mark Sutton, was the German leaving Silverstone in a car with Szafnauer amid the speculations of him being very close to sign a deal with Racing Point/Aston Martin from 2021 onward.
Vettel, naturally, played it down and thought it was more of a media fuss. He mostly joked about the travel with Szafnauer to play down the ‘accidental’ meet. Even though the weekend was over, the German mixing with other bubble member could be dicey.
Vettel: “That’s correct, we were heading to the fuel station. After that, he was going home and I continued going somewhere else. It was a nice Ferrari Pista. And I remember years ago he was talking about the car now he obviously got one and he said that he ran his running out of fuel.
“I said, Well, where are you going? And we’re heading in the same same direction and then yeah, I was going with him to the fuel station and then somewhere else. We were the same car but we were wearing masks. Obviously you can’t be two metres apart. I find it a bit awkward. I’ve seen that, I don’t know I find it a bit awkward nowadays.
“People make a fuss out of everything and that actually I don’t see the point of even, I don’t see the news in that. As for a contract in the car, I found something I’m not sure I thought he told me was a waiver in case he crashed it. I’m happy with it. That was a joke.
“Just making sure because nowadays, I don’t know, people get everything a bit wrong. So we had, as I said, I mean, there’s nothing on my side, no news and nothing to announce. I mean, I’ve known Otmar for a long time.
“I’ve been in his car before so but nobody was interested! We’ve known each other for a long time. So to speak to the people that you know that’s not that uncommon, let’s say. Regarding a drive, I’ve got lots of possibilities maybe not so many in F1 as you can do the math and see which seats are taken but I think as I’ve always mentioned, I think the most important is that I’m happy with my choice.
“Time will tell what the choice is and then go from there so I’m not too stressed about it. Regarding the elbow to Lawrence last weekend, I was also given an elbow greeting for Toto and to Christian and other people in the paddock. And no, Mercedes is not, I mean, I think Lewis wants to continue. So, I don’t know.
“I mean, I haven’t really spoken with him about it. But I’d be surprised if he wasn’t continuing but I don’t know. I don’t think there’s a rush as well. Obviously. If he’s staying then he’s staying with Mercedes and if not, I guess he quits but I don’t as I said, I don’t see that as a as an option.”
And finally, taking in Albon, the Thai doesn’t see any change in his approach despite the clashes with Kevin Magnussen and Lewis Hamilton. He feels, he has had a solid start to 2020 F1 season albeit he admits it hasn’t been that smooth.
Albon: “To be honest I don’t see it as a terrible start to the season like you make it out to be. Of course it hasn’t been smooth but we still had decent points this year. Last weekend was a rough race for us but with the crash with Kevin it wasn’t easy.
“But in terms of self-doubts, no – you have to stay strong to yourself. You have to ignore questions and in the end it’s about you and focusing on the performance is all that I’m really focused on. And no, I wouldn’t change how I’ve approached my racing.
“I think there’s been circumstance with Lewis, but that’s just a racing incident, and even to me with Kevin’s one, it could be the same thing. It’s also to me part of, the crash itself, Kevin made a mistake and he left the door open.
“There’s definitely, of course, to me they’re both racing incidents. But how I would approach racing, no, I think all this patience stuff, we’re trying to get points and we’re trying to get through the field. I could be patient and wait three laps to get past, or I could do it when I know I can. I went for it, it didn’t work, but I wouldn’t regret doing it again.”
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