Sochi: Spanish Formula One driver Carlos Sainz is hopeful of returning to action for today's Russian Grand Prix after surviving a harrowing 200mph shunt in final practice. Sainz, who is contesting his debut season in the sport, was airlifted to a nearby hospital in Sochi after the crash on Saturday morning.
Course marshalls remove Scuderia Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz's damaged car after he crashed during final practice of the Russian Grand Prix at Sochi Autodrom in Sochi, Russia on Saturday. Pic/Getty Images
The 21-year-old lost control of his Toro Rosso as he approached turn 13 — the fastest section of the circuit which runs through Sochi's Olympic Park. He then slammed into the nearside wall, destroying the front left of his car, before careering head-on into the tyre barrier still at high speed.
The session was immediately red flagged, and subsequently abandoned, as medical crew took 20 minutes to extract Sainz from his cockpit. There were worrying expressions on the faces of his team, and throughout the paddock — the incident coming only days after the one-year anniversary of Jules Bianchi's ultimately fatal crash in Japan — but as Sainz was put into the ambulance on the back of a stretcher he gave the thumbs-up. His Toro Rosso team later confirmed he was conscious and talking to the medical team as he was removed from his car.
Toro Rosso decided not to replace Sainz, who will be kept in hospital overnight, for qualifying and the Spaniard has not given up hope of taking his place on the grid for today's race. He tweeted a picture from his hospital bed accompanied by the words: "All ok! Nothing to worry about! Already thinking how to convince the doctors to (let me) be on the grid for tomorrow."
Meanwhile, Nico Rosberg will start from pole position today after edging out Lewis Hamilton in qualifying. The German, who is 48 points adrift of the Briton in the championship race, posted a best lap of one minute and 37.113 seconds to finish comfortably ahead of his Mercedes teammate.