The Formula One 2021 season has seen a lot of drivers starting the season at a new team. There is no doubting that Carlos Sainz has settled very quickly to life within the Scuderia Ferrari ranks. On his day, Sainz has shown he has the pace to match his illustrious teammate Charles Leclerc. Due to being the home race for the Spaniard, hopes were high for what could be achieved at the Spanish Grand Prix. Therefore, it was little surprise to hear Scuderia Ferrari’s latest driver declare he was ‘not very satisfied with P7’ in Sunday’s race.
During Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix, Scuderia Ferrari showcased their reliability, consistency and the skill of their talismanic racer Charles Leclerc. The Monegasque racer was sitting in third for most of the race and when Valtteri Bottas eventually overtook him – Leclerc’s fourth place was never under threat and this was the position he crossed the line in with 5th placed finisher Sergio Perez almost 10 seconds behind.
Scuderia Ferrari Team Principal Mattia Binotto stated after the race:
“Charles drove an impeccable race. He was aggressive at the start and did a very good job of looking after his tyres, something that we have worked on a lot with him. Carlos lost positions at the start and that cost him a better result, but he did not lose heart and fought back, making up quite a few places.”
Binotto’s summation explains the events which befell Carlos Sainz during Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix very well. Having started the race in 6th position (just over a tenth behind fifth placed starter Esteban Ocon) Carlos Sainz was no doubt very optimistic for a strong performance during his home race. In reality though, not long after the lights went out, the damage was already done - as Sainz explained to the media:
"I am not very satisfied with P7 today, to be honest. I had a poor getaway at the start and after the first corner I found myself surrounded and lost a couple of places. From then onwards though, we had a very strong pace.”
Carlos Sainz certainly did have a strong pace as the race drew on and eventually was able to overtake Esteban Ocon in the closing stages to secure 7th position. The reason for such a performance, despite lacking overall speed, came from the balance of his car:
“Today the car was well balanced and it performed quite well with the tyres. We still lack a bit of speed on the straights, which makes us struggle for overtaking. We must work on that and I must keep working on refining some details, because today with a stronger start we could have made it to P5.”
The Spanish Grand Prix in essence was won by a superlative Sir Lewis Hamilton and a stunning Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team strategy. In previous seasons, Scuderia Ferrari have been criticized for their strategy but that could not be said of Sunday’s race:
“The strategy worked well, and the guys put together a couple of fast pit stops. It was a good team effort and we leave Spain with good points for the Championship. We must continue to analyse where we weren’t perfect, and push from there!"
One can predict that Carlos Sainz will have many other Spanish Grand Prix in the red of Scuderia Ferrari and the comments from Team Principal Mattia Binotto show that the resurgence of the team continues.
"A positive result with a good points haul that sees us close the gap to those just ahead of us. Achieving that was our main aim for the weekend and we succeeded.”
Having just had the home race for Carlos Sainz, when we are next out on track it will the home race for his teammate Charles Leclerc. Monaco makes its return to the F1 calendar after a year of absence brought on by the global pandemic and a revitalized Scuderia Ferrari team looks ready for it, as shown by their Team Principal’s closing remarks:
“We head home believing that we have taken a significant step forward compared to where we were in 2020. There’s still a lot of work to do to get the Scuderia back to where it should be and I was pleased to see that the whole team, both at the track and Maranello, is clearly keen to improve."