Carlos Sainz sniffed victory at one point in F1 Italian GP, as he wanted to at least try to go for win and or at least a podium finish.
Having started from pole, Ferrari’s Sainz managed to hold off Red Bull’s Max Verstappen for more than 10 laps as he was as aggressive as possible in his defence but the lock-up eventually came which allowed the Dutchman to get through him for the win.
But in those 10-12 laps, Sainz did think of an unlikely victory against the might of Red Bull. “Halfway through it,” he said. “I felt like I had fairly under control but then I think I… around lap 10 to 12, I started filling the rear left tyre giving up a lot, like a lot earlier than I would have expected.
“At that point, I realised I had used my tyres too much and probably to keep Max behind, I had worn that rear-left tyre too much and that I was going to suffer a lot for the rest of the race because it was going to probably make me box early into a hard tyre. And then the second stint was going to be very long.
“It’s exactly what happened and my feeling was correct. But yeah, honestly, I didn’t expect to degrade so much but it was clear that I was pushing very, very hard to keep them behind. Probably harder than what the car, or what I should have done,” summed up Sainz, who felt the lack of DRS he had considering he was ahead did play a small role.
Usually with the DRS, drivers can use the tyres with a bit of ease but since he was ahead, he couldn’t extract that thing. Even with small deficits, he wanted to at least try for the win and or the podium finish. “I’ve had it before, in places like Austria or Canada where, once you get into a DRS, you can manage the tyres a bit better because they pull you on the straight and then you can control the exits and the traction and the medium-to-high speed a bit more,” said Sainz.
“In Monza, I never really had the chance to to feel that, and I had to push quite a lot in the corners, to try and keep that gap and defend into Turn One, and in the end, it was just never possible for me to manage those tyres. It nearly cost me, as I said, the podium, but, as I said, I didn’t want to go home with a feeling that I haven’t tried, and I didn’t try to win, and stay ahead.
“I was committed to trying, and to make sure I was going to use all the life of those tyres to try to stay ahead. Nearly managed to do that in the first stint, but in the end, the stints are just a bit too long for us right now,” noted Sainz, who thought he has had solid weekends before as well but in Monza, he felt comfortable straight up which helped.
“I’ve done other strong weekends in F1 that maybe got a bit unnoticed when I was in the midfield where I felt I extracted everything out of the car,” said Sainz. “Of this year, for sure, of my Ferrari career probably. Of my F1 career, it’s a tough call but I felt like this weekend I was on it from the beginning, comfortable with the car especially over one lap.
“I felt really, really at home and I could put together strong laps yesterday and snatch pole but today was again a bit tougher and it shows me exactly where we need to keep working on and where I will put my head down and keep pushing the team to keep working on our tyre understanding and our race pace understanding,” summed up Sainz.
He had praise from his boss Frederic Vasseur too who felt Sainz was on it from the start. “It’s the best of the year, we had strong pace all weekend and it was good pace in qualifying,” he said. “It’s the first time that we’re able to fight with Red Bull, even though the Red Bull pace was better than us.
“For sure it was the best weekend overall and for Carlos because he stepped forward not necessarily in qualifying and race, but also in the preparation of the weekend – from lap one in FP1 he was there.”
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