Sainz enjoyed fighting with competition: “It couldn’t get any better than this”

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Sainz enjoyed fighting with competition:

Despite not being able to cash in on his pole position during the race, Carlos Sainz is still extremely pleased with his first podium of the season. In front of the Tifosi, he managed to defend third place in the fight against his teammate, Charles Leclerc. Things got even more difficult when it turned out that Sainz had asked too much of his tires in the fight for the lead, leaving his full focus on survival and getting what he could. In the end, the Spaniard can look back on an extremely tough race with his head held high.

All weekend long the guys from Ferrari showed how strong they were. Prior to the race weekend at the Monza circuit, the team had introduced a package of upgrades that fully matched the character of the track. This soon paid off: Sainz finished second fastest during the first practice session, and the Spaniard even set the fastest time during practice two and three. As icing on the cake, he also took pole position in qualifying, so it quickly became apparent that Ferrari would be a daring competitor for Red Bull Racing.

Still, the Austrian team seemed to excel on Sunday, as Max Verstappen took the lead in the race after just fifteen laps, sending Sainz back to second position. But the fun was far from over, because Sergio Pérez also overtook him after a long fight, and in the final laps he even battled with teammate Leclerc for third place. In the end Sainz got the short end of the stick and was allowed to take the podium, and he himself previously emphasized that there is no better place to do that as a Ferrari driver than at Monza.

Tough race delivers well-deserved results for Sainz

During the press conference after the race, the Spaniard emphasized how happy he is with this podium finish. “Yes, of course I’m very happy now that the race is over, because it’s almost impossible to get better than third place at Monza, for the Tifosi. Or well, it could have been better, but not here.’ Because Sainz also quickly noticed that the Red Bull car, like every race this season, turned out to be a lot stronger during the race. “Red Bull was clearly a lot faster than we were, but we already expected that.” Still, Sainz fought for what he is worth, with a nice third place as a result. “I did what I could to keep them behind me, especially that first part in the fight with Max (Verstappen, ed.)”

Yet the tough fight also had the necessary consequences for Sainz, because his tires turned out not to appreciate the pressure. It almost cost me the podium in the end, because I asked a lot from my tires, even more than I would have liked. That made me weaker and weaker towards the end of the first part.’ As a result, the team had no choice but to let Sainz make a pit stop earlier than planned, which would mean that he would have to drive longer on the hard tyres. “I quickly realized that I had asked too much of my tires and that my rear tires were struggling. But because of that I had to make an early pit stop for the hard tire and then drive on it for an extremely long time.’

Tires struggled, but good fights were worth it

During the race Sainz was shocked by the degradation the tires had to deal with. ‘I actually didn’t even expect it to be this bad, but it soon became clear that I had tried a little too hard. It took a lot of work to keep the others behind me, maybe even more than the car could handle.’ Still, it was well worth it for the Spaniard, because it eventually earned him that well-deserved third place. “I was always under extreme pressure from Verstappen, Pérez and Leclerc, but in the end I was able to defend third place. It was a really tough race, but I’m sure happy.’

Ultimately, Sainz ended up on the doorstep of teammate Leclerc, and that also caused the necessary tension in the team. Both gentlemen wanted to get their hands on that coveted podium at Monza, and for one of the first times team boss Frédéric Vasseur let it happen. However, both gentlemen saw in advance that this could happen, Sainz also emphasizes. “On the other hand, we are fighting for a podium in Monza, so there would be a fight anyway.” Much to the relief of everyone involved in the team, the two gentlemen kept it tidy. ‘Fortunately we were able to round it off nicely, with some nice actions here and there. It was a good fight, and I really enjoyed those fights, also with Verstappen and Pérez. It was a good day for the sport.’

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