Sainz denies blocking Massa in Q3 as revenge for Friday practice issues
The two were inseparable on the track in Q3 on Saturday, with Williams' Felipe Massa accusing Renault's Carlos Sainz of blocking him on purpose on his first lap in the session.
The Brazilian revealed that upon chatting with Sainz after Q3, the Spaniard admitted to doing it on purpose - which Sainz later on denied, shrugging down the conversations.
"No, not at all," said Sainz on Massa's allegations. "I think it’s a very strong accusations to say I did something on purpose. What I am sure is that he could have gotten out of the way before in Turn 4.
"I had to do all the time in Turn 4 behind him and [in fact] I was actually impeded by him for two or three times in my first lap of Q3. He then he started complaining, talking about yesterday, I don’t really understand at the moment.
"He was talking about yesterday and today. I don’t know, I wasn’t really listening because for me, that’s not worth it. Of course, I’ll not do that [impede on purpose]. Yesterday we had some issues on track for sure, but today in a qualifying I’ll never going to risk to penalise someone."
The Brazilian indicated clearly that Sainz came close to him, even though Massa was quite far ahead in front. The videos suggests that there was bit of a game going on between the two - however owing to the nature of the circuit, a slight hiccup could disrupt anyone's lap.
"I was happy with the qualifying until Q3, when I just lose a lap because a driver [Sainz] disturbing you on purpose," said Massa. "It is really disappointing. I think, if you make a mistake with something [it’s all right], but you know it’s a mistake on purpose, then it is really disappointing.
"I also spoke to him. I was much more infront of him when I left the garage. I [even] spoke about him to my engineer, [to ask] 'if he’s in the lap' and he [engineer] said 'yeah, he’s in the lap'.
"So, after the corner five, I let him go, but I was a lot more in front of him and he was completely in front of me very close [when I was behind him] and then for sure I lost a lot of time, you could see on the lap time. So, that’s what happened.
"[When we spoke in parc ferme] I said 'you did something on purpose'. He said, 'yes, I did because you disturbed me in the weekend [FP1]'. I said because I disturb you in one lap in the long run yesterday, he said so…..to be honest I’ll never do that in purpose, if a driver does it then it is really too much.
"I really hope the stewards understand and they see what happened. It was clear I did the corner very close to him. He knew I was there and he didn't let me by, knowing that I was coming," explained Massa.
Even though Massa indicated of an investigation, but so far, nothing has been said about the incident by the FIA in official capacity. As things stand, Sainz will be starting in eighth with Massa behind in ninth - after penalty to Red Bull Racing's Daniel Ricciardo.