Scuderia Toro Rosso Formula One driver Carlos Sainz Jr. had the brownest of code browns this morning in Free Practice 3: he hit a wall, sending him into and under the barriers at the end of the track at Sochi Autodrom. Miraculously, Sainz was fine after the crash and has been cleared to race tomorrow.

Sainz lost control under braking, sending him into the outside wall, and then into the barriers outside Turn 13. Turn 13 lies at the end of one of the fastest parts of the Sochi circuit. Sainz’s car became buried under the Tecpro barriers as a result.

Thank goodness for modern barriers.

Free Practice 3 was halted following the incident. F1 Fanatic reports that Sainz did not lose consciousness in the crash, however, he was airlifted to a local hospital following the shunt due to the severity of the crash.

Miraculously, Sainz was fine after the crash. He even tuned in to watch qualifying.

Per F1 Fanatic, no injuries were found in a full body scan at the hospital, but they are keeping Sainz overnight as a precaution.

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Scuderia Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost confirmed to Formula One that the team will investigate the cause of the crash.

According to F1 Fanatic, Sainz will be allowed to start the Russian Grand Prix tomorrow despite having to miss qualifying because of the shunt. Stewards deemed that Sainz had been setting satisfactory times in practice to be able to compete, and granted the approval after a request from the Toro Rosso team.

UPDATE [1:52 p.m.]: Sainz has been released from the hospital early.

Sainz said in a video fro the hospital that he’s a bit sore, but ready for tomorrow. As quoted on Adam Cooper’s F1 Blog:

As you can see I am fine. My back and my neck are just a bit sore from the accident, but I’m totally ready. Hopefully tomorrow I will wake up in a good shape and maybe I can try and race – this is definitely the intention! Obviously we need to be cautious… I’ve always been conscious.

As soon as the accident happened I tried to talk to the team on the radio, but it wasn’t working and those must have been some scary moments… I’d like to thank everyone for their support, it’s really nice to receive all your messages at a moment like this one! I hope to see you all tomorrow out there!

Toro Rosso is in the process of putting together a car for him to race. Tost confirmed to Adam Cooper’s F1 Blog that Sainz will still need to undergo the FIA medical checks before he races tomorrow. Tost also explained the likely cause of Sainz’s crash:

Now, just to clarify what happened, prior to the accident, Carlos had completed a long-run on the Option tire, before changing to the Prime to do two further laps.

On Primes the grip level is lower. In addition he had changed the brake [balance] on the steering wheel, which meant he had more braking rearwards. A combination of these two factors might have been the cause of the rears locking, which made the car uncontrollable.

The rears locked up and sent Sainz into the wall.

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Photo credits: Getty Images


Contact the author at stef.schrader@jalopnik.com.