Carlos Sainz: ‘It Doesn’t Taste As Good As It Should’

Jarrod Partridge

After finishing second at the FORMULA 1 GRAND PRIX DE MONACO 2021, Ferrari’s Carloz Sainz admitted ‘ it just maybe doesn’t taste as good as it should’ when he reflected back on the missed opportunity on Saturday.

As the Spaniard was on his flying lap in the closing seconds of qualifying his teammate crashed into the barrier, red flagging the session and stopping Sainz charge in its tracks.

While Sainz believed he was putting a pole-position lap together, it’s the thought that he could have converted that pole into a maiden race win that gave him the biggest pause for thought.

Carlos Sainz Would Have Taken Second If Offered

If he was offered a second place finish and a podium in Monaco before the race weekend, Carlos Sainz is adamant he would have taken it. However, the race in him was left perhaps wanting a bit more for his efforts.

‘It is a good result. If you would have told me before coming to Monaco I would finish second I would definitely have taken it. It’s just the circumstances of the weekend – having Charles on pole, me missing out in quali yesterday on a good lap – it just maybe doesn’t taste as good as it should but I’m sure when I reflect back on the weekend I will be very happy and proud of the weekend and I think Ferrari as a team they need to be proud about the car and the step they have done this year. 

‘When you see the other car not starting from pole, all of a sudden the responsibility obviously falls to you to salvage a bit the weekend. One car is out, starting from pole, and you want to give the team at least a podium. It was all about getting the start right and then around the pit stops there was a lot of traffic and we were lapping the cars very quickly and obviously Valtteri had the pit stop but even without that I was feeling really good with the car today and I felt like the team at least deserved a podium this weekend.

‘It’s a good feeling. Of course today in particular with starting P4 also – P3, sorry – to finish P2 is a good result. I think the team deserves to at least get a podium this weekend. But yeah, the bittersweet feeling is still there because I’ve had the pace to put it on pole or at least to win this weekend and the fact that, in the end we didn’t quite manage it is not great.

‘Also, I feel for Charles. I feel for the team, that they didn’t manage to start the day from pole. It’s a strange day – but at the same time on a personal level I have to be happy with P2 because it was the maximum that we could achieve today,’ said Sainz.

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Ferrari Pace Returns

After 2020 was spent in the doldrums, the pace and the feel-good feeling is returning for the Scuderia, and it translated into a weekend where both drivers were fast throughout all four sessions leading up to the race.

‘Probably if you had told me on Wednesday that I would not be 100% happy about P2, I would have not believed it, to be honest, because we are not normally fighting for this position this year. But then, after the pace of Thursday, I genuinely thought we could win.

‘I was so comfortable in the car and so fast on Thursday and Saturday morning, and through qualifying, I genuinely felt like, OK, I can put it on pole and win my first-ever grand prix in Monaco. Then, obviously, we all know what happened on Saturday and today I had to reset myself.

‘Today I had to change a bit my expectations. I knew that starting fourth, one of the best things that could happen was to finish on the podium. And in the end it was a P2. So, in general, that’s why today I’m happy: in general with the whole weekend, I’m still missing the possibility to win.

‘We expected to be good around Monaco. We didn’t expect to be fighting for pole and win but we did expect to be closer to the front. We managed to switch on the tyres with every compound, which always helps around Monaco. We nailed the set-up, which obviously brings a few tenths also. Confidence in the car was high, which also helps. It’s a combination of things that come together and all of a sudden, in a special place like here, you can have a crack at it and we were close.’ 

Tough Task To Catch Verstappen

With Valtteri Bottas retiring due to a wheel nut issue, Carlos Sainz turned up the heat as he tried to chase down eventual winner Max Verstappen. However, with the tight confines of Monaco adding additional traffic challenges, his charge was halted.

‘I felt a bit stuck behind Valtteri because of the stop, and obviously that was unfortunate but it cleared me to try and get myself in clean air.

‘Looking back, I think the first 20 laps I was pushing but not like crazy and then at some point, I think 20 or 30 laps to the end, I decided to try and close the gap to Max, to put him a bit under pressure, obviously knowing here that the chance of a mistake is super low and that he’s been quick all weekend.

‘Then we went through a phase of a lot of lapped cars, that it was difficult to keep the focus, also it cooled the tyre off and at the same time it opened a lot of graining, the combination of trying to catch Max, coming through blue flags and everything, I just opened a lot the graining and then from then the confidence and the pace wasn’t the same. I had my moment of feeling like I could catch Max and try to put him under pressure a bit but after the blue flags and the graining, it was very, very tricky,’ concluded Sainz.

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