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Carlos Sainz Takes Veiled Dig at Mercedes as Toto Wolff’s Apathetic Comment Starts War of Words

Published 11/19/2023, 10:16 AM EST

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The Las Vegas Grand Prix had it all. One of the best races this season, it featured literally everything a fan could ask for. Pre-qualifying drama, a breathtaking circuit, scintillating qualifying, and most importantly, an amazing race day with plenty of overtakes. In fact, the Grand Prix had so much that within a couple of hours, Max Verstappen went from stating he did not want to race in Las Vegas, to singing “Viva Las Vegas”.

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Ferrari had probably one of their best weekends in the weekend, apart from the penalty Carlos Sainz received after a drain cover shafted his car. However, ending the race in P2 and P6 must have done wonders for the team from Maranello. Especially with Sainz having to start from 12th, ending up ahead of the Mercedes driver was definitely a sweet victory for him.

Carlos Sainz’s brilliant comeback drive


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The Ferraris had amazing pace throughout the weekend. In qualifying, if not for the penalty, they would have comfortably locked out the first row. However, since drain covers had other plans, Sainz had to start from the second half of the grid. Charles looked extremely poised to end the race weekend with a victory but fell short by less than two seconds.

His Spanish teammate also wasn’t far behind in terms of pace. The start from Sainz was poor, involving in a turn 1 incident, that almost relegated to the back of the grid, but the Spaniard pushed through.


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Despite receiving a warning from the team about a potential retirement if continued to push all out, Sainz persevered. He managed to lift and coast at just the right places, and ensured that he still made overtakes left and right. He managed to finish the race in P6, ahead of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell at P7 and P8. The Maranello pair took a grand total of 26 points from this incident-filled race.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff was a little apathetic to the safety concerns going into the Grand Prix. When asked about the drain hole coming loose, he stated “this is nothing. Obviously, Sainz did hear about this over the weekend, and he made sure to beat the Mercedes pair on track. Talking about this in a post-race interview, Sainz made a subtle dig at Toto Wolff-led Mercedes side. He stated, “I am happy to finish the race in front of those who wanted to penalize me.” 

Currently, Mercedes is running into their own set of troubles. Not too long ago, they looked well poised to finish P2 in the constructor’s championship, but that dream is now rapidly slipping away.

Mercedes’ woes continue

Two races ago, Sergio Perez’s DNF in Mexico provided a real sniff at P2 for Lewis Hamilton. However, 2 disappointing races in Brazil and now Las Vegas have ensured that P2 dreams are well out of Hamilton’s hands.


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In fact, today, the 7-time championship-winning team could only score 10 points in comparison to Ferrari’s 26. This 16-point differential is enough for the Maranello side to come within touching distance of P2 in the constructor’s championship.

Right now, going into the last race in Abu Dhabi, if Ferrari outscores Mercedes by a mere 4 points, P2 is theirs. Mercedes will need to sort their abysmal straight-line speed, get their setup straight, and get their act together in time for the season finale. Momentum, for now, is on Ferrari’s side.


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WATCH THIS STORY | Is Carlos Sainz Looking to Move Away from Ferrari?

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Written by:

Anirudh Kidambi


One take at a time

Hey there! I am Anirudh, your seasoned wordsmith. With over three years in the game, I am not just a writer, I am a passionate scribe with an insatiable curiosity that fuels my every word. My passion for American sports centers around Indycar, a love I discovered in 2018.
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Edited by:

Aishwary Gaonkar