Sainz says penalty for forcing Alonso off track was 'harsh'

Carlos Sainz Jr believes his penalty for forcing Formula 1 rival Fernando Alonso off the road at the start of the Mexican Grand Prix was harsh

Sainz says penalty for forcing Alonso off track was 'harsh'

Sainz was penalised five seconds for moving across on fellow Spaniard Alonso as they exited Turn 3 on the opening lap, forcing the McLaren driver onto the grass, which nearly caused him to spin.

When asked for his thoughts on the punishment, Sainz said: "Probably on the harsh side, because at the start you cannot look 360-degrees.

"When I saw him I saw him late, but it's not like he was side-by-side with me.

"The overlap was pretty small, and he took it flat out - good for him, it was brave.

"I've seen people not get a penalty for much worse.

"If I put Fernando in a dangerous situation I'm sorry for that, but it's racing, it's lap one.

"I'm not going to give up my position for free, especially when I'm nearly one full car [length] ahead.

"You never expect to have one guy there, close to a kerb on traction with the soft tyre, when you have more grip on the super-soft."

Alonso complained on the radio after the incident, which Sainz said he had no problem with.

"You can always complain on the radio," Sainz said.

"I would have probably done the same and asked for a penalty because it's the easiest and most straightforward thing to do.

"We all do it but I don't really mind, we all get a bit overexcited.

"I will not blame him for that, I just think the penalty is a harsh from the stewards."

Alonso suggested the penalty was not severe enough, as Sainz still compromised a large portion of his race.

"We spent like 50 laps behind Carlos, and obviously we had the move on the first lap, which was not very fair," said the two-time world champion.

"They put five seconds [penalty], but when you spend 50 laps behind that car your race is already compromised.

"On the first lap we were on the wrong side at the wrong moment all the time.

"We had a little incident that put us in a difficult position for the remainder of the race, so not a nice result."

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