Sainz convinced he had pace to challenge for podium without British GP setbacks

2021 British Grand Prix

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Carlos Sainz Jnr is convinced he had the pace to finish on the podium in the British Grand Prix.

The Ferrari driver lost out in the inaugural sprint qualifying race when he was involved in a first-lap collision with George Russell. From ninth on the grid he dropped down the order but recovered to 11th place, which became 10th on the grid after Russell’s penalty.

In the opening laps Sainz rose to sixth, and ran as high as second when rivals ahead pitted. His own stop was slow and dropped him behind McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo, who he had already battled with and wasn’t able to pass.

“Unfortunately we had that slow pit stop that cost us a position to Daniel,” Sainz reflected. “The pit stops all year have been great, and it’s the first average pit stop that we do.

“I think today was one of the best balanced [cars] I’ve had all year. And considering that 60 laps ago we were last, to finish sixth is not that bad.”

Sainz’s team mate Charles Leclerc led most of Sunday’s race and finished second after conceding the lead to Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton late on. The second Ferrari finished 40 seconds further back after being unable to overcome Ricciardo’s straight-line speed advantage.

Ferrari’s team principal Mattia Binotto confirmed a problem with one of the team’s wheel guns was to blame for Sainz’s slow pit stop. He said the gap between the two drivers was due to only one of them being able to spend most of the race in clear air.

“If you compare our two drivers, one of the two has been stuck behind [rivals], and the other has done a very good pace. But when Carlos was in clear air, he had pace similar to Charles”.

Sainz said Leclerc’s pace “shows that the car today in clean air was not there to quite win, because in the end the Mercedes is clearly a bit quicker, but very close to the podium and really great to drive.”

He added his own car “had the pace for the podium”, and drove well on old tyres.

“At some point I was setting fastest laps on 25-lap-old mediums. So it shows that the tyre deg and the set-up and the car balance is improving. We are indeed looking to improve all the areas still.

“But today, at this circuit that we thought it was not going to be very good for us, we delivered and the car was very nice to drive.”

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching Photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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16 comments on “Sainz convinced he had pace to challenge for podium without British GP setbacks”

  1. Moreover, I’d say that if he didn’t have the setbacks, with everything else being the same, it might have been 1 and 3 for Ferrari, with leclerc 1st, as Hamilton would have to have passed Sainz first.

    1. @njoydesign I dunno there’s a lot of selective coulda woulda shoulda going on here. If Hamilton and Verstappen hadn’t collided, and/or if Bottas’s start was better, and/or if Perez’s last quali lap wasn’t deleted, maybe a 5-6 finish would have been the ceiling. It’s a slippery slope.

    2. Agree with both: your prediction is right with everything else going down as it went except sainz’s misadventure, but in a race where perez doesn’t start from the back and there’s no collision, the first 4 places are basically locked out, leclerc was however soooooooo exceptional that he’d have still beaten bottas and maybe a front-running perez!

  2. Indeed Ferrari have a great car for this track and/or circumstances. Somehow they can go the full race without blistering while Verstappen even in the sprint race was complaining about blistering.

    1. @f1osaurus
      A great car that was a 1s a lap slower than Mercedes on a fresher set of hard tyres in the hands of a very fast driver like Leclerc. Nice try to over-glorify Hamilton’s win !

      1. @tifoso1989 I guess you didn’t read the actual article and just came for the trolling, but Sainz was also fast in that car if he wasn’t stuck in traffic. And also equally fast as Bottas in the Mercedes.

        For a Tifosi you are amazingly negative about a Ferrari.

        Either way, I remarked about the balance, but go ahead if you want to jerk that knee

        Reply moderated
  3. What puzzles me is that Ferrari doesn’t seem to know how they’ll do before the race is actually held. Usually the teams have a pretty good idea how their car will be performing on any given track, but Ferrari seems as surprised as us viewers when they perform well (or dreadfully).

    1. I think it’s quite clear what the strengths and weaknesses are. In a track with slower corners, Ferrari are quicker, but if same track has long straights they suffer so they shave off their wing but automatically this means they struggle with tyre wear. This is exacerbated in front-limited circuits in lower temperatures as the car suffers a lot more from graining than it does from degradation.

      1. Thank’s for the info, you’re clearly better informed on technical matters :-). However, what gets to me is that Ferrari itself seems so surprised every time they come to a track. Might be I’m just imagining things, but I can’t help to think they have no clear insight in the effects of what you mention in terms of lap time or race performance as a whole compared to the rest of the field. Sainz says he could compete for a podium and Charles for the win after the race, but they can’t predict it.

    2. But never disappoints with their pitstops

  4. I dunno about Sainz. He is inconsistent and therefore doesnt quite make it in the group Charles, Lando, George and Max. Great 2nd driver for Ferrari though. Lets hope they can get the car up there as well amongst the RB and McLaren

    1. pastaman (@)
      21st July 2021, 12:25

      Wow, what more does Sainz have to do? He has had arguably the toughest teammates on the grid of anyone with Verstappen, Norris, and Leclerc and he has been competitive with all 3. He impresses me wherever he goes.

      1. That sure is a good point. He did have quite some team mates. Thanks for that

      2. He would have impressed me more if he had got past Danny Ric.

        the ferrari was nearly capable of winning in the right hands at siilverstone, so he should have been able to breeze past Danny Ric

        1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          22nd July 2021, 17:01

          I think Sainz made the right choice. Danny was not going to give up his best result in the McLaren especially since Ferrari and McLaren are fighting in the WCC. He had to line up the perfect pass and Danny was too good to let that happen.

          Plus this keeps him in contention with Leclerc in the points. It reminded me of Nico Rosberg – he would settle for just the right points and play the long game against Schumacher. Very wise.

          Obviously, both Nico and Carlos had the benefit of learning from some of the best racers who just happened to be family.

  5. I would not be to quick to give Verstappen-stature to Perez’s car. His Quali for the sprint was just ok. He was not running all that well, even at the back of the pack.

    Reply moderated

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