Carlos Sainz has apologised for causing his McLaren Formula 1 team “unnecessary stress” by crashing during opening practice for the Russian Grand Prix.

The Spaniard lost control of his MCL35 at Turn 7 in FP1 and slid backwards into the barriers, causing extensive damage to his rear-wing.

Sainz was able to trundle back to the garage under his own steam but left his mechanics with a repair job in order to get his car ready and back out in time for the afternoon session.

“Everything is OK, thank God the mechanics did a great job to get the car back together for FP2 – so very happy with that,” he said.

“And some apologies for the team, for causing them unnecessary stress in FP1. But the track was particularly dirty there and I think it caught us out there by surprise. In FP2, we could get back to business and complete a good session.”

Sainz took no further part in FP1 after his accident before putting his McLaren fourth in the timesheets in second practice, just behind Daniel Ricciardo, who impressed on Friday for Renault.

After seeing the pace demonstrated by Ricciardo at Sochi, Sainz is unsure of how the pecking order stands between McLaren and its main rivals.

“They definitely seemed to have the edge over us in the last couple of races, especially on Friday they tend to be very, very quick, so hopefully we can get them tomorrow, but in general Renault look a bit strong,” he explained.

“[Aero set-up] is very tricky, particularly my car today, we’ve been tending to be a bit on the understeer-y side so I was complaining a bit about the balance – but hopefully when it comes tomorrow we’ll get it right. We’re not that far off actually.”

 

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