Carlos Sainz Jnr said he had to contain George Russell’s pace during the Singapore Grand Prix in order to hold off his rival for victory.Logan Sargeant hitting a barrier meant Ferrari had to pit Sainz earlier than planned and therefore run a longer final stint than they intended.
“It was all about, given our limitations with tyre wear and degradation, all about managing the beginning of the stint so that later I made it to the target lap as we wanted to do on this compound.
“Obviously the Safety Car forced us to pit a bit earlier that we wanted and I knew it was going to be a long stint on hard [tyres]. I had to keep George [behind], I had to keep him slowing down, don’t give him a Safety Car or a medium tyre opportunity and it worked to perfection.”
Mercedes used a Virtual Safety Car period later in the race to put both their drivers on fresh sets of tyres. Sainz backed off and allowed Lando Norris to close on him, meaning the McLaren driver was allowed to use DRS, which prevented Russell from attacking his rival.
“It was quite tight at the end,” said Sainz, “but we gave Lando a bit of DRS to help him and in the end we made it P1.“
Despite spending most of the race under pressure from arrival behind, Sainz felt he had it “under control” all the way.
“I always felt like I had the headspace and the pace in hand to do whatever I wanted to do. I’m not going to lie, you’re under pressure and you obviously are very close to making any kind of mistake but I felt under control, I felt like I could manage well and we brought it home. That was the best feeling, I’m over the moon right now.”
Sainz ended Red Bull’s run of consecutive wins and scored the second victory of his career.
“It’s an incredible feeling, an incredible weekend,” he said. “I want to thank everyone in Ferrari for making this huge effort to turn around and manage to win this season after a tricky beginning.
“We nailed the weekend, we nailed the race, we did everything that we had to do we did it perfect and we brought home a P1 and I’m sure all Italy, all Ferrari is going to be proud and happy today.”
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2023 Singapore Grand Prix
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