Carlos Sainz was pleased with his Styrian Grand Prix after the Spaniard recovered from a difficult qualifying session to finish in sixth position.
Sainz underwhelmed on Saturday as he went 12th fastest, but certainly made up for it on race day as he cut through the field to help Ferrari gain ground on McLaren in their battle for third place in the constructors’ championship.
Charles Leclerc was one spot back in seventh, despite an early collision with Pierre Gasly that set him back, with Ferrari showing excellent speed in the second half of the race that bodes well for the Austrian Grand Prix at the same venue next weekend.
“I had a strong race and it was a good result for the team,” Sainz said. “We had good pace from the very beginning, right until the end.
“I managed to run a very long first stint, doing very good laps once I was able to make the most of running in free air to overcut almost the entire midfield.
“The pit stop was spot on and that gave us a chance to chase P5 as I had a lot of pace on the hard tyre. Unfortunately it took me a lot of laps to unlap myself from Hamilton. When I was following him, the front tyres were suffering. By the time I had a clear track ahead of me again, it was too late to try and pass Norris.
“Tomorrow we’ll start working on the second race here. We have an opportunity to improve and we want to do all we can to get another good result.”
Leclerc did well to finish seventh, but admitted to mixed emotions due to the lost opportunity of challenging Lando Norris for fifth.
“It’s a bitter sweet feeling,” he added.
“The incident on lap 1 put us on the back foot. It’s a shame because we lost a good opportunity to bring home an even better result. From the second lap onwards, I would rank this as one of my best races so far in Formula 1. The car felt amazing, the pace was there, and I took every opportunity to make a strong recovery.
“In terms of performance, we extracted the maximum from the car. This shows how much work has gone on behind the scenes and what an amazing job the team has done especially in the last week. We have to go over all the data to understand exactly how we achieved this step so that we can hopefully repeat it next week.”