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