Carlos Sainz gave a thumbs-up sign to cameras to indicate he was conscious after surviving a high speed crash that ended Saturday morning’s third and final free practice session for Sunday’s Formula One Russian Grand Prix.
The Spaniard was extricated from his crashed Toro Rosso car and carried on a stretcher to a waiting ambulance and then to the circuit medical centre after crashing at turn 13.
An official announcement by International Motoring Federation (FIA) spokesman Matteo Bonciani confirmed that Sainz was conscious as he was being taken from the wreckage.
He added that Sainz had been talking to the medical staff as he was removed and had attempted to undo and take off his own helmet.
Sainz, 21, lost control of his car after braking on a high-speed section of the Sochi Autodrom where he glanced off the outside wall and then speared straight into the barriers.
Toro Rosso team chief Franz Tost said Sainz was conscious, but could not say if he was injured or explain what caused the accident. He said Sainz would not drive in the qualifying session scheduled for later on Saturday.
The accident brought Saturday morning’s third and final practice for this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix to a halt – and then an early conclusion – after 36 minutes.
The Toro Rosso driver’s car sheared off the track and into the barriers at turn 13 on the Sochi Autodromo circuit where he rammed into the wall under the fitted tec-pro barriers.
There were immediate calls for an explanation why the tec-pro barriers, designed to absorb the worst of this kind of accident, were fitted above the level of the car’s impact.
The session was red-flagged to a halt and then ended eight minutes later when it was officially announced that it was not being restarted.
Sainz was on his first flat-out high-speed run at the circuit, which, as a rookie, he was learning also for the first time.