Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur says Carlos Sainz Jnr’s pole position and podium finish at the Italian Grand Prix were not just his best results of the season, but the outcome of his best overall performance this year.Ferrari back up to third in the constructors’ standings.
“It’s the first time that we are able to fight with Red Bull, but the Red Bull pace was better than us for sure,” said Vasseur. “But we were able to stay to match [them] for a good part of the race. And for sure it was the best weekend overall.
“I’m more than pleased also for Carlos because I think he did a step forward. Not necessarily in the quali and the race, but I would say also into the preparation of the weekend and from lap one of FP1 he was there. And it’s a good lesson also for the rest of the season.”
Sainz said his weekend “was definitely a big step forward compared to Zandvoort”, where he had finished fifth from sixth on the grid a week earlier. “This weekend we’ve been best of the rest, which is a good result for the team given the circumstances,” he said.
In the closing stages of the race Sainz came under pressure from Charles Leclerc. However Sainz kept his team mate behind, outscored him for the second race in a row, and is now six points ahead of Leclerc in the championship.
Sainz said his performance at Monza had been one of the best of his career. “I’ve done other strong weekends in F1 that maybe got a bit unnoticed when I was in the midfield where I felt I extracted everything out of the car. Of this year, for sure, of my Ferrari career probably [it’s the best].
“Of my F1 career, it’s a tough call but I felt like this weekend I was on it from the beginning, comfortable with the car especially over one lap. I felt really, really at home.
“I could put together strong laps [on Saturday] and snatch pole but [the race] was again a bit tougher and it shows me exactly where we need to keep working on. I will put my head down and keep pushing the team to keep working on our tyre understanding and our race pace understanding.”
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