Carlos Sainz is delighted with his eighth-placed finish in what he described as his “strongest” race for Ferrari this season at 2021 Turkish Grand Prix.
Sainz began the race from 19th place after taking a fourth power unit alongside his McLaren successor – Daniel Ricciardo but was able to storm his way through the field to find himself ninth by the end of Lap 17 before eventually passing the non-stopping Esteban Ocon for eighth on Lap 46.
The Spaniard proceeded to hold position to the checkered flag as he collected four vital points as he remains sixth in the drivers’ standings just ahead of his Ferrari teammate, Charles Leclerc by 0.5 points.
Reflecting on his comeback drive to finish eighth and be voted as fans’ Driver of the Day, Sainz said: “This was one of my best races, and probably my strongest with Ferrari!”
Discussing the damp conditions as he carved his way through the field, Sainz added: ” That first stint in those tricky conditions was very intense but good fun. I overtook at different parts of the track and using all kinds of lines, so I really enjoyed myself.”
Sainz though was disappointed by the slow release from his pit stop which saw him come out behind Ocon rather than close to Lando Norris, although he was pleased to have been “one of the fastest on track” during the final ten laps.”
Leclerc meanwhile was also happy with his “positive” race after running third until Valtteri Bottas pitted at end of Lap 37, leaving the Monegasque to attempt to go to the checkered flag without a pit stop.
Sadly that task proved unsuccessful after Bottas was able to reel him back in and passed Leclerc into Turn One on Lap 47 to regain the lead, which forced the two-time race winner to pit at the end of that lap which proved costly because he ended up fourth behind Sergio Perez.
Explaining how he missed out on the podium, Leclerc said: “We went long on the first set of Inters and once the rest of the field had stopped for the new set, we found ourselves to be quite a bit faster on the used ones.
“But after just a few laps, the other drivers started to clear the gaining they were struggling with and found a lot of performance, so we knew we would have to stop too.
“We were a little out of step with the others on my stop that happened late in the race so we never got over the graining phase and couldn’t fight back.”
Ferrari Team Principal, Mattia Binotto meanwhile stayed behind at Maranello, Italy like he did for this race last November but was delighted with “good signs” in the team’s progress despite enduring “a very intense race” despite not feeling “entirely satisfied” with the 16 points collected from the race.
Looking ahead to USA and beyond, Binotto added that Ferrari need “to be realistic and continue to push to improve in every area”, whilst building “confidence” in order to ensure that they can fight to the very final checkered flag of 2021 season in Abu Dhabi for third in the Constructors’ standings.