Ferrari suffer more misery as Carlos Sainz out of Azerbaijan GP – ‘Something has failed’

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Ferrari suffered more misery on Sunday as Carlos Sainz lasted less than 10 laps of the 51-lap Azerbaijan Grand Prix – and Charles Leclerc later had to retire on lap 21 too. The Spaniard, who had been running in fourth at the time, ran off at Turn 4 on lap nine and reported a problem with the car, telling his team radio: “Something has failed.”

Sainz was forced to retire from the race as a result and was then joined by his team-mate who had an engine issue as smoke plumed out of the back of his car. Ferrari wrote on Twitter after Sainz’s retirement: “Unfortunately #Carlos55 had a problem and stopped.”

They later revealed that Sainz had suffered from a hydraulic issue. Sainz’s DNF came after a poor start to the Baku race for the Prancing Horse. Pole-sitter Leclerc gave up first place to Red Bull’s Sergio Perez at Turn 1 on the first lap.

A virtual safety car was deployed following Sainz’s issue which saw Leclerc, after pitting, temporarily drop down to third. The Monegasque returned to the lead of the race after Max Verstappen’s first pit stop but then was forced to retire himself with smoke coming out of the air box.

Sainz, meanwhile, had been on provisional pole in qualifying on Saturday but started P4 after a poor second lap in Q3. He admitted he pushed the car too far as he squandered pole, explaining: “I was feeling in contention for pole that, after the last couple of races, especially prior to Monaco, I wasn’t So good progress then and it’s what happens when you push to the limit. Sometimes you take P1 like I did in Q3 round one, and sometimes you overstep it. Clearly, I did overstep it in Q3.”

The 27-year-old is enduring an underwhelming season for Ferrari so far and went into this weekend fifth in the Drivers’ Championship but 33 points behind team-mate Leclerc and 42 off of championship leader Verstappen.

A mix of mistakes and misfortune have dogged the former McLaren driver, with this his third retirement of the season. He finished second in the Monaco Grand Prix in the previous race before this year but might’ve won it on another day, insisting it was a “bittersweet” result.

He said: “It’s bittersweet, especially because I was leading the race before the pit stop. After the pit stop I had a terrible out-lap behind a lapped car. It cost me a couple of seconds of race time that was enough for Checo to jump me.

“The race win was there but unfortunately these things happen around Monaco. It was my turn to get a bit unlucky and then I tried everything I could to get past but around here with these wide cars is tricky.”

As a result of his latest DNF, the gap between Sainz and title protagonists Verstappen and Perez will only grow. Leclerc has started on pole in the last four races including this one but has now not won any of those.

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