The Spaniard started the race in third place, as the lead Ferrari driver given Charles Leclerc’s engine penalties. He quickly made his way past the struggling Alpine of Fernando Alonso and settled into a rhythm behind Max Verstappen. With Verstappen stopping 10 laps earlier than Sainz in the race for a new set of hard tyres after Sergio Perez’s retirement, the Dutchman had to make another stop on lap 43, whereas Sainz stayed out and could benefit from the safety car caused by Yuki Tsunoda’s stricken AlphaTauri on lap 49.
This meant Sainz would restart the race right behind Verstappen, with tyres six laps newer and a real chance of attacking the Dutchman for the race lead. As it turned out, the Ferrari driver got close to the Red Bull on several occasions, but not quite close enough to make an overtake happen, ultimately settling for P2 in the race.
Speaking after the race, Sainz emphasised he and his team “tried everything” but were unable to get past the Red Bull due to a “pace delta” not big enough with six laps of tyre difference:
“I was pushing flat out. I wasn’t leaving any inch to the walls, under braking – I was pushing everything, with the battery – I tried everything to pass Max (Verstappen).
“But today we just didn’t have enough pace delta to get him close enough in the hairpin, to get him a bit out of line into the chicane.”
Fifth in the drivers’ world championship, Sainz takes comfort from the strong race pace he showed in Montreal, claiming he and Ferrari “were faster all race” and praised the strategy he was on, but admitted they just lacked “that little bit more” to overtake the Dutchman in the final few laps:
“The positive thing is that we were quicker – we were faster all race – just (lacked) that little bit more to overtake around here.
“I’m particularly happy with the race pace, with the way we managed to put pressure on Max the whole race, the timing of the pit stops I think was right.
“Honestly, we tried everything and we were very, very close to winning today, so I will take the positives and keep trying in the next one,” he concluded.