Carlos Sainz Jr. has escaped with a reprimand for a pre-race pitlane infringement at Formula 1’s Spanish Grand Prix, where he finished sixth.
The Toro Rosso driver was investigated by the stewards for leaving the pits before the track was open ahead of the race, and his punishment was lenient because he stopped shortly after committing the offence.
A statement from the FIA said: “The driver did leave the pitlane when the red light was displayed, a reprimand was applied due to the fact that the driver stopped the car and did not gain any advantage.”
The statement confirmed Sainz crossed the pit exit line at 13:29 local time, with the pits not officially opening until 13:30 for drivers to make their way to the grid.
Speaking about his race, which included running third behind the two Red Bulls in the early laps until he was passed by both Ferraris, Sainz said: “I’m very happy with the race.
“I don’t think there was more than that [possible] in the whole weekend. P6 after a great start, a great qually, I cannot be happier than I am.”
The Spaniard added that he decided not to race the Ferraris too hard, but he took some satisfaction from protecting the Red Bulls of Daniel Ricciardo and race winner Max Verstappen in the early laps.
“The team was telling me on the radio to take it easy with them because that’s not our race,” he said. “I said, ‘OK, I’ll take it easy but they’re not going to pass me in the first lap they arrive.’
“I managed to hold on pretty well the two times I defended and then I had to let them go. I knew I was kind of doing a job for them [Red Bull]. With 5km/h more I’m sure we would have kept them there behind the Bulls.”