Carlos Sainz Jr has been discharged from his hospital stint earlier than planned, and declared his hopes of being given the green-light to race in Sunday’s Russian Grand Prix after his high-speed accident in Saturday’s final practice session.
The Toro Rosso driver lost control of his car on approach to Turn 13 midway through FP3 at the Sochi Autodrom, clipping the wall on the left-hand side and plucking his front-left wheel off. With his braking capacity compromised, the Spaniard slid out of control and was buried nose-first in the TecPro barriers.
He was quickly extracted, “conscious and talking”, from the car and taken to the nearby Sochi Hospital 4, where scans confirmed he had incredibly suffered no injuries.
Toro Rosso initially stated that Sainz Jr. would remain in hospital overnight for precautionary observations, but issued a further update on his condition confirming that doctors had elected to discharge him early.
The FIA Stewards will permit him to start Sunday’s race, provided he is declared fit in a mandatory FIA check.
“My back and my neck are a bit sore from the accident, but I’m totally ready,” Sainz Jr. said.
“Hopefully tomorrow I will wake up in a good shape and maybe I can try and race – this is definitely the intention!
“Obviously we need to be cautious… I’ve always been conscious. As soon as the accident happened I tried to talk to the team on the radio, but it wasn’t working and those must have been some scary moments [for them].
“I’d like to thank everyone for their support, it’s really nice to receive all your messages at a moment like this one! I hope to see you all tomorrow out there!”
Team Principal Franz Tost confirmed that the outfit’s mechanics had worked through Saturday afternoon and into the evening to repair Sainz Jr’s badly damaged car in anticipation of him being allowed to race.
Tost also confirmed that a recent tyre change and an adjustment in braking bias and pressure could have been factors contributing to Sainz Jr.’s accident.
“Carlos had completed a long-run on the Option tyre, before changing to the Prime to do two further laps. On Primes the grip level is lower. In addition he had changed the brake shape [setting] on the steering wheel, which meant that he had more braking rearwards,” he explained.
“A combination of these two factors might have been the cause of the rears locking, which made the car uncontrollable.
“I’m very happy that Carlos is OK and out of hospital, this is the most important thing for us,” he added. “I hope he will have a good night’s sleep and tomorrow morning he will have to go through the FIA medical checks to decide if he will be able to take part in tomorrow’s race.”
Image via Scuderia Toro Rosso
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