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Sainz: A very good race after tricky start

Sainz: A very good race after tricky start

Sainz: A very good race after tricky start

Carlos Sainz delivered a solid first race in the 2024 Formula 1 season, his last as a Ferrari driver, finishing on the podium, a result which definitely boosts his chances for a 2025 seat.

Sainz starts 2024 with the pressure of finding a drive in 2025 after being shown the door of Maranello to make way for Lewis Hamilton, but on track during the season opener in Bahrain, Sainz seemed free of any shackles and raced strongly beating his teammate, Charles Leclerc, to the chequered flag and bagging his 17th F1 career podium.

Sainz was outqualified by Leclerc on Friday, and started the grand prix from fourth on the grid, and then lost a position to Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, but managed to recover after that, passing his teammate and then Mercedes’ George Russell with some masterful overtaking.

Leclerc suffered with his brake, (a 100 degree split in temperature between front left and right)all race long, but that does not take anything away from Sainz, who was faultless, even managing to stay in tough with Perez in the RB20, finishing less than three seconds behind him.

Reflecting his his race, Sainz said: “I think it was a very good race after a tricky start. I settled into my pace and knew I had good race pace from testing and settled into my rhythm.

“I started overtaking cars, kept it up with Checo which wasn’t easy because the Red Bulls had really good pace and a good strategy with the new soft. But, very happy and an encouraging start,” he maintained.

Teammate or not, Sainz will overtake

Sainz had a good tussle with Leclerc out on track, which could have caused some nail biting on the Ferrari pit wall, but the Spaniard insists he will not be deterred from taking a position even if it was his teammate’s.

He said: “I’m going to overtake when I have a chance and be safe and clean like it was today, especially when I have good pace and could extend my first stop, so I could create a tyre advantage for myself.

“The overtaking was always clean, tidy and safe which is the way I like to go racing,” the 29-year-old pointed out.

Sainz’s 2024 Bahrain GP would have undoubtedly given his chances of securing a top drive in 2025 a boost and when asked of he felt that way, he responded: “I’ve been in F1 for nine years and every race I’m trying to prove to everyone what I’m capable of doing.

“At the same time, I’ve done so many years here that everyone knows what I’m able to do with the right working environment and right tools to fight.

“My future is something I’m not thinking about at the moment and only think about it in my off time,” the Ferrari driver concluded.

Fred Vasseur: A very smart comeback

Ferrari boss Frederic Vasseur commented on Sainz’s race, he said: “Carlos had a good race with a very smart comeback after not getting a perfect start and he was able to fight with Perez until the final stages.

“We knew we would have been on the Hard tyre and Checo would have been on Softs and our aim was to put the Red Bull under pressure, which we did towards the end but it was not enough.

“This weekend, our flying lap performance matched our expectations,” the Frenchman added, commenting on Ferrari’s weekend in Bahrain.

“But we have a clear step to make in terms of our race pace as we were not in the fight with Red Bull. That said I consider today’s race a good baseline as we were able to close the gap considerably compared to last year.

“We will continue with our development and I’m confident we will be able to take the fight to them more often,” Vasseur concluded.

Sainz was also voted Driver of the Day after his performance in Bahrain on Saturday.