On Saturday, Ferrari had a qualifying session to forget. While Charles Leclerc managed to squeeze his SF21 in P7, his teammate Carlos Sainz was 12th fastest thus failing to make the cut to Q3.
The result was not a surprise given the relatively poor performance over the three hours of free practice. As the Spaniard said: “this afternoon is not the end of the weekend” and, in fact, it wasn’t. Both drivers gave their best, fighting on every lap to get the best result possible.
The Scuderia ended the first of two Austria races with a sixth and a seventh-place – an extremely important result, especially in light of the Constructors’ Championship, where they managed to get closer to their direct rivals i.e., McLaren, which currently stands at 120 points, only twelve ahead of the Maranello-based team.
Taking advantage of the free-tyre choice, Sainz started the race on Mediums and delivered a solid performance, gradually making its way up from 12th to sixth, not far behind Lando Norris.
“I had a strong race and it was a good result for the team!,” commented the Spaniard at the end of the race.
“We had a 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.
Surprisingly enough, Carlos Sainz was held back by Lewis Hamilton and because he had to unlap himself from the seven-time World Champion, he lost precious seconds in the fight to reach Norris ahead.
“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.”
This coming week, Spielberg will once again be the stage to the World Championship with the ninth round of the season, the Austrian Grand Prix, the final race of this first triple-header of the season.
Faithful in today’s result, the Scuderia will have to work hard to improve their qualifying speed and find the right balance between one-lap speed and race pace.
“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”, concluded Sainz.