F1 | Portuguese GP | Carlos Sainz explains how he struggled with medium tyres and how that cost him a top-five finish
Carlos Sainz started the Portuguese Grand Prix in P5 but finished in P11. The Spanish driver has explained how his race strategy did not fit his car and cost him a top-five finish.
The Portuguese Grand Prix has already taken place and the result was quite normal. In the first position was the seven-time world champion, Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen stayed with the second position, while the pole-sitter only managed to finish in the third position. To be honest, this Portuguese Grand Prix was not the most entertaining, however the battles in the midfield continue. During qualifying, Carlos Sainz and his Ferrari took fifth place ahead of his teammate and behind both Mercedes and Red Bull. It was an excellent session for the Spainard driver who did not have a very easy start to the season. On the one hand, changing from one team to another will always be difficult since you have to adapt to the car and the team itself, while the tricky conditions at Imola led him to make a lot of mistakes. In Portugal, Sainz managed to take away the fourth position from Perez during the start, however, after the Safety Car restart, Sainz lost his place against the Mexican driver and against his former teammate, Lando Norris. Subsequently, the Spanish driver had to let his teammate pass, in addition to losing position against Ocon, Alonso, Ricciardo and Gasly, leaving him in P11 and without points. The Ferrari driver has commented on his point of view and what was the reason for such a difficult Grand Prix.
“Hindsight is a beautiful thing, and on hindsight, clearly the hard today was simply a stronger tyre, particularly on our car. We struggled a lot with the mediums, and we need to still understand why we were so prone to graining on that medium tyre, why the combination of the medium with our car was just not working well today.” Affirmed the Spaniard. “In hindsight, for sure we would have done things very differently, but with the data we had available before the race, we thought that a soft/medium strategy was going to be OK, and it clearly was not.”
“A lot to analyse and a lot to go through now in these next three or four days. I’m sure we will take the right conclusions and improve going forward. I know that today, it was in our hand and in my hand to score a top-five, top-six result with a decent race execution and the pace we have shown all weekend.”
“To come out with zero point and an 11th place, it’s difficult to think about the positives.”
As we know, race strategy is a fundamental factor to have a good result or not. The fact of choosing which tyres to use must be supported by a lot of information gathered during the previous sessions, in addition to the information you’ve gathered from your opponents. On this occasion, Ferrari did not know how to choose the right tyre, making Sainz unable to defend himself from attacks for his position. On the other hand, team orders are never a good thing to hear if you are the driver in front, that is why during the interview done by the medium called motorsport.com with Mattia Binotto, he was asked what was done that the team decided to let Leclerc pass.
“Swapping position is something that we would like to avoid, things that are normally aren’t great, but sometimes maybe necessary. Today, we felt it since there was a very different pace, and we could see that Carlos was suffering with the graining of the medium. We asked to him, he did it immediately.” Binotto affirmed. “He understood the message. I think when you’ve got drivers that understand what the priorities are and they support the team, it is always a pleasure.”