Spanish Formula One driver Carlos Sainz has been given the all-clear to race in today’s Russian Grand Prix after his harrowing crash in practice.
The 21-year-old, competing in his maiden grand prix season, was airlifted to a nearby hospital after he lost control of his Toro Rosso as he approached the fastest section of the circuit.
Sainz clattered into the nearside wall, destroying the front left of his car, before careering head-on into the tyre barrier at turn 13.
The Spaniard was expected to stay in hospital overnight, but he was released late on Saturday evening.
And early on Sunday morning he was given the green light by the FIA, the sport’s governing body, to race.
“In accordance with normal procedures, Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Carlos Sainz was this morning examined by the FIA Medical Delegate and Chief Medical Officer at the Sochi Circuit Medical Centre.
“Following this examination the driver has been declared fit to race in today’s Russian Grand Prix.”
Sainz, the son of two-time world rally champion Carlos Sainz Snr, will start at the back of the field after he was also given the all-clear to race by his Toro Rosso team who repaired his car overnight.
Sainz was due to spend the night in hospital but he tweeted a picture late on Saturday thanking the medical staff at the Sochi hospital.
“As you can see I am fine – just a little bit sore from the accident on the back and the neck, but I am totally ready to see whatever happens,” he said via a video message from his hospital bed.
“Hopefully tomorrow I can wake up in good shape and maybe I can try to race. This is definitely the intention but we need to be cautious.
“In every moment I have been conscious – after the accident – trying to speak with the team on the radio but the radio was not working.
“I know there was some scary moments out there but I am glad that everyone is fine and thanks a lot for the support. I hope to see you tomorrow out there”
The nature of Sainz's crash was a cause of great concern to the paddock on Saturday evening.
The Tecpro barrier deployed at turn 13 is designed to absorb the force of a high-speed impact, but on this occasion it appeared to lift up with Sainz’s Toro Rosso buried underneath. It took 20 minutes for the Spaniard to be extracted from his cockpit.
”It was shocking to see he was so deep in the barriers and he was covered by them, too,” said Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel.
”The idea is not for the barriers to come on top of you or the car go under, so it is something we need to understand.
”I don’t know why if there was anything wrong with the way they installed the Tecpro barriers or if was just coincidence the way he crashed into them. I am sure that is something that needs to be avoided.”