Carlos Sainz Jr has revealed a gearbox problem would have likely prevented him from scoring points in Bahrain, even if he had avoided clashing with Max Verstappen

The McLaren driver and Verstappen collided at Turn 4 as the pair squabbled over fifth place in the early stages of Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix. The incident forced Sainz to pit with a puncture, which dropped him to the back of the field before he later retired. 

But while Sainz was frustrated to miss out on a potential fourth place finish, he said he can take comfort from the fact a gearbox issue - which cost him around a second per lap - would have ruined his chances anyway. 

“It was a day to score lots of points but I'm gonna keep the positives,” Sainz said.

“I had a problem in the gearbox on lap 10, I was losing synchronisation of the gears for the rest of the race and I was losing nearly a second a lap because of it. 

“So if I had of been P4 after that accident and suddenly the gearbox would have started failing like it did, now I would be even more pissed off. Let's keep the positives and let these things happen now and let's get the points when things are running smoother.”

The Bahrain GP stewards investigated the Sainz-Vertappen collision but took no further action. 

Asked about the incident, Sainz said: “I arrived in front of him and braked later than him, he hit the kerb I think or got very far in the kerb and loses the car and I get a really big impact from the right side. 

“So you could say leave a little more space, don't leave more space. He just missed the corner completely and hit me really hard. So that's racing, just very unfortunate.

“I had a lot of pace on the cars in front, I was attacking the Mercedes and the Red Bull, just got the worst part of the accident.

“I could very easily have backed out of it and got him later in the race,” he added. “It’s just one of those things that happens, I had to try with the pace I had, overtaking a Red Bull had to be my target. I was fast enough to do it.”

Verstappen felt Sainz had simply not seen him at the corner entry.

“He tried to go around the outside and braked late, I guess he didn't see me,” the Dutchman explained.

“In these cars you are blind to what is happening next to you.I braked late and saw him turn into the corner, so I had to take avoiding action.

“We clipped wheels and it was unfortunate.”