After two disappointing back-to-back races, Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz finally caught a break and secured a podium for the inaugural Miami Grand Prix.
However, it wasn't smooth and straightforward for the Spaniard at the Miami International Autodrome circuit. During the FP2 session on the opening day of the race weekend, Sainz endured a serious crash that had a lasting impact on his race-day performance.
The Ferrari mechanics were able to fix Sainz’s F1-75 in time to ensure that he put down a solid result in FP3 and later an impressive P2 qualifying result.
However, despite the team’s strong effort in providing a highly competitive car for Sainz to race in, the 27-year old admitted after the race that he had not fully recovered from the incident in the practice session and was not able to push as hard as he would have liked to on track.
“Well, yeah. Obviously, I'm coming back from a pretty heavy crash on Friday” Sainz said during the post-race press conference.
“So, I wasn't feeling 100 per cent today, but maybe also the fact that I haven't done the last two races. So also, the neck feels that. And it’s a combination of those two things that maybe I was paying a bit the price and at some stages of the race I couldn't push 100 per cent.”
Prior to the Miami Grand Prix, Sainz encountered two unfortunate incidents that caused him to receive a DNF at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix and the Australian Grand Prix. The Ferrari driver spun out in Australia on lap 2 and was involved in an incident with Daniel Ricciardo on the opening lap in Imola, which prevented him from completing two races in a row.
Both of the early retirements Sainz faced in the two races leading up to the Miami Grand Prix, impaired his feel for the car and left him vulnerable to mistakes on track. Sainz also revealed how the third-place podium he won in Miami did not come as a relief but was an actual necessity for the future races that lie ahead on the schedule.
“It's not so much a relief – but it’s needed. I think I needed to complete a race distance, to get the body back to shape, and also get the feel for the car on used tyres, high fuel,” he said.
“I was still doing a couple of mistakes out there during the race, just because I was trying the car and trying myself out there.”
“The important thing is that we got a full race in, but at some stages of the race I was pretty quick and also the battles and the feeling with the car in battle with Checo, you know what to do with the battery, with the tyres, I think it gave me a good understanding of what to do in the future.”