Carlos Sainz had full belief that Ferrari had a chance to win in F1 Monaco GP, especially after the strong Thursday they had.
It was a bittersweet end for Sainz in F1 Monaco GP after getting his first podium with Ferrari in a grand prix, where his teammate Charles Leclerc, couldn’t even start the race. And on the personal level, the Spaniard reckoned, he lost a pole and a win.
Pre-weekend, Sainz did not think about pole and or a win, but the Thursday practice changed his mindset. This is the reason why he was frustrated after Saturday, when he was fourth, with teammate Leclerc on pole – which he retained after his crash.
In the race, Sainz not only benefited from Leclerc’s DNS, but also Valtteri Bottas’ DNF, to end up second. He actually tried to push on and catch Max Verstappen at one point, but gave up to retain second, which is still a good result for the team.
“It’s a good feeling,” said Sainz. “Of course, starting P3 and to finish P2 is a good result. I think the team deserves to at least get a podium this weekend. But yeah, the bittersweet feeling is still there because I’ve had the pace to put it on pole or at least to win this weekend and the fact that, in the end we didn’t quite manage it is not great.
“Also, I feel for Charles. I feel for the team, that they didn’t manage to start the day from pole. It’s a strange day – but at the same time on a personal level I have to be happy with P2 because it was the maximum that we could achieve. If you had told me on Wednesday, I would not be 100% happy about P2, I would have not believed it, to be honest, because we are not normally fighting for this position this year.
“But then, after the pace of Thursday, I genuinely thought we could win. I was so comfortable in the car and so fast on Thursday and Saturday morning, and through qualifying, I genuinely felt like, OK, I can put it on pole and win my first-ever grand prix in Monaco. Then we all know what happened on Saturday and I had to reset myself.
“For the race, I had to change a bit my expectations. I knew that starting fourth, one of the best things that could happen was to finish on the podium. And in the end it was a P2. So, in general, that’s why I’m happy: in general with the whole weekend, I’m still missing the possibility to win,” summed up Sainz, before adding on his chase of Verstappen.
“I felt a bit stuck behind Valtteri because of the stop, and obviously that was unfortunate but it cleared me to try and get myself in clean air,” said Sainz. “Looking back, I think the first 20 laps I was pushing but not like crazy and then at some point, I think 20 or 30 laps to the end, I decided to try and close the gap to Max, to put him a bit under pressure, obviously knowing here that the chance of a mistake is super low and that he’s been quick all weekend.
“Then we went through a phase of a lot of lapped cars, that it was difficult to keep the focus, also it cooled the tyre off and at the same time it opened a lot of graining, the combination of trying to catch Max, coming through blue flags and everything, I just opened a lot the graining and then from then the confidence and the pace wasn’t the same. I had my moment of feeling like I could catch Max and try to put him under pressure a bit but after the blue flags and the graining, it was very, very tricky,” summed up Sainz.
Here’s Ferrari on the driveshaft failure
Here’s what Mattia Binotto and Charles Leclerc said after Monaco GP