Carlos Sainz Jr, Ferrari and Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Monza, 2023

Sainz “did everything I could” to keep Red Bulls behind

2023 Italian Grand Prix

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Carlos Sainz Jnr said he did “everything I could” to try and keep the Red Bull drivers behind him during the Italian Grand Prix.

The Ferrari driver started from pole position for the race at Monza and held the lead at the start from Max Verstappen behind. Eventually, Verstappen passed him on lap 15 after Sainz made a mistake into the Rettifilo chicane.

In the closing laps of the race Sainz also lost second place to Sergio Perez But after resisting another attack from his own team mate he secured his first podium finish of the season with third place.

The pole-winner said he fought as hard as he could to keep the dominant Red Bulls behind him.

“It was very, very tough,” said Sainz. “It cannot get any tougher than what it was today.

“Honestly, the whole race I was pushing very, very hard to keep the Red Bulls behind. That obviously made me use the rear tyres a lot, trying to keep up with them and trying to keep them behind.

“In the end I ended up paying a bit the price with the rear tyres, but I did everything I could to defend with all the cars that I could. I brought it home in the end in P3, but it was a tough one for sure.”

Sainz was almost hit by his team mate as the pair fought over the final podium place. He said the battle with Leclerc was “tough, hard racing.”

“It’s always been a pleasure to race Charles whenever we’ve had the chance and today was the same,” Sainz said. “A great racer, same as Max and Checo. We had fun out there today and I hope you guys enjoyed it also.”

Ferrari have had difficulties with suffering more severe tyre wear than their rivals across the season. Sainz admitted Red Bull were stronger with their tyres again this weekend, but was happy with the performance of his team.

“I think we just need to keep working on our pace, on our tyre understanding,” he said.

“I think today, it was obvious that we were wearing the tyres a bit more and we were just lacking a bit of pace. But it’s definitely a big step forward compared to Zandvoort. This weekend we’ve been best of the rest, which is a good result for the team given the circumstances.”

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2023 Italian Grand Prix

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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10 comments on “Sainz “did everything I could” to keep Red Bulls behind”

  1. Great job to Sainz. It felt like there were 3 Red Bulls today (one disguised as a Ferrari)…

    1. Can you imagine Leclerc barreling into the back of Sainz at that first corner of the last lap!

      1. To be fair to Sainz: He earned the position to be ahead of Leclerc in qualifying and although Leclerc was much quicker (as you said, almost as fast as Perez) during the race Sainz still did a good job and deserved the podium. Luckily no team orders so we could enjoy that great battle.

  2. Probably the best race of his career. Fought like a lion for this podium. Leclerc is better, but he should take some notes from what Sainz did today to better himself.

  3. While his defensive drive was great, he was a bit too much in the grey area & moved under braking into Prima Variante quite a few times, with the worst being when he moved twice against LEC.

    1. It’s all game nowadays, sometimes you get a penalty for doing that, like Lewis today. And as you mention like sainz and like leclerc, sometimes you don’t :)

  4. Good defense from Sainz and “good” strategy from Leclerc.
    Looks like he left Sainz alone against Verstappen and Perez to kill his tires and then try to pass him with better tires

  5. best driver of the day, and it almost looks like Ferrari can beat Red Bull if they manage to work their ground effects to better effect. The rest of the car looks great. That and maybe their modelling for tire management. RBR are so much further ahead in this department I believe, and without Mercedes large pocket books, it is too easy for RBR to own the rest of the field as they are leagues ahead of everyone else in terms of simulation tools and analysis.

  6. I like how the wall told leclerc no risk then he immediately locked up all four and almost hit Sainz.

    I didn’t see sainz move under braking but he didn’t leave room in the chicanes. For all the penalties given out I think stewards should have cracked down on those things. You even had people driving themselves off the track to defend in the first two chicanes without investigation like with Piastri and Hamilton before they collided.

  7. He even used a magic force field at one point, pushing Perez off track despite the cars being 2 metres away from each other.

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