Throughout the Russian Grand Prix weekend, Sochi‘s infamous Turn 2 was the scene of endless issues, as drivers ran wide or spun and were subsequently penalised should they fail to rejoin the track correctly.
Having run wide as the pack funnelled into the notorious turn, the Spaniard, having correctly taken the designated escape route through the polystyrene markers, misjudged his speed through final gap and clipped the wall, sending him spinning across the track and ending his race on the spot.
“Unfortunately in Turn 2, I had someone on the inside, and I ran a bit wide,” said the Spaniard. “By the time I decided to go around the bollard, I went around the bollard with a very, very narrow angle, and I misjudged my entry speed around the bollard and hit the wall pretty heavily.
“A misjudgement by my side, a mistake,” he added. “But I still think that corner shouldn’t exist.
“It’s not a very nice corner to drive around,” he continued, “and it generates these kind of situation. But I just misjudged it.
“It’s not a corner that is well designed,” he insisted. “You saw in the race just how many people are missing that apex, and having to around the bollards, destroying the bollards, it’s clearly not a great corner.”
“It’s one of the worst corners of the calendar,” agreed Russell, who followed Sainz through the escape route on the opening lap, doing well to avoid the stricken McLaren. “For racing it’s a terrible design.
“I actually suggested this in a drivers’ briefing earlier in the season,” he revealed, “that we’ve got the room and the space to create almost a Bahrain-style Turn One and Two, almost a hairpin into a kink, which firstly will allow drivers to lunge one another into Turn One, to get better racing, and also avoid people having to cut the track.
“Because when you go into a 90 degree corner that actually tightens up on itself, when you’re three or four abreast, obviously cars are going to get pushed off.”
“The geometry is weird,” added Ricciardo. “My situation, for example, I locked up so I was like, ‘It’s gonna be tight’. But it’s just the way it’s shaped, it leaves you with hope until the very last minute, or that very last second, I should say.
“Obviously, by the point you’ve committed, you can’t really go back across, you’d lose probably more than five seconds,” he continued. “So I guess there’s that point of no return, and obviously I’d got to that and I just said, ‘Alright, I’ll just go and if I get a penalty, then obviously I’ll suck it up’.
“I think to be honest Turn 2, a few of us drivers have been vocal. I think they could do something better with it in general, I think even just to allow more overtaking for example, maybe a different shaped corner, less of such a short apex.
“They’ve got quite a bit of room to play with. So we have talked about it in the past, and maybe that would also eliminate the issue that we’re having with this, this cut through etcetera.”
“Turn 2 has been one of those that’s been a challenge in different ways each year,” said race director, Michael Masi in reaction to the comments. “You fix things in one way, and it has another impact.
“So we’re trying to find the best solution. And I think we’ve found a reasonable solution. Now, is there room for improvement? Yes. There’s always room for improvement.”
Asked if a gravel trap might be the solution, he said: “As I’ve said a number of times, there are different solutions for different circuits, different corners, taking everything into account. And gravel is not a solution everywhere.
“With regards to speeds in run-offs, one of the things that obviously we’ve tried to achieve and aim to achieve is primarily that the rejoin in such circumstances is effectively funnelled in a way that it’s as safe as possible. That’s the primary objective.
“Secondary is to slow cars down if possible within that area. However, the nature of Turn 2, because of literally the nature of the corner, it’s very hard to find a one-size fits all solution. So we’ll continue looking at it, and see what we can do.”