IMOLA, Italy (Reuters) – Carlos Sainz said there were no hard feelings with Daniel Ricciardo after the Australian apologised for a collision that ended the Ferrari driver’s race on the opening lap at Imola on Sunday.
Sainz spun into the gravel two corners into his team’s home Emilia Romagna Grand Prix after being hit from behind by Ricciardo’s McLaren at Tamburello.
It was the Spaniard’s second successive retirement in four Formula One races.
In Australia two weeks earlier, he had retired on the second lap and Sainz also crashed in Friday’s sprint qualifying at Imola.
“The first thing that he did (after the race) was coming to the Ferrari box to apologise to me,” Sainz told reporters. “The mechanics were all with me and we all thanked him for the gesture.
“That’s why there’s no hard feelings with Daniel. What happened with him could have happened to anyone out there today but unfortunately it had to happen to me.
“It’s how it is. The incident has really no mystery to it. What happened is very clear to everyone.”
Sainz had been second to his championship-leading team mate Charles Leclerc in the standings before the race but slipped to fifth overall with 38 points to the Monegasque’s 86 from four rounds.
Leclerc could have been even further ahead but also spun off while chasing Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, dropping from third place to eighth before recovering to sixth while Max Verstappen won from pole.
Leclerc made a slow start, dropping from second to fourth on the damper side of the track, and said he had been too greedy as he fought back later in the race and would learn from his costly mistake.
“Third was the best result we could have secured today, as our competitors were very strong,” he said.
“I struggled on the soft tyres but when I saw an opportunity to overtake Perez for second I went for it, pushing a bit too much, when I should have stayed put to secure those points.”
Team boss Mattia Binotto said it had not been the homecoming Ferrari had hoped for.
“We wanted to give the fans something to cheer about, as they packed out the grandstands and the fields with a sea of red to support us here at Imola,” he said.
“Naturally, we are disappointed not to have managed that, but there will be other races and opportunities to put a smile on their faces.”
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Clare Fallon)