Sainz backs Ferrari grid penalty call despite strong form

Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz says he "wouldn't change the decision" to take a new power unit in Formula 1's Turkish Grand Prix after seeing how competitive his team turned out to be.

After Charles Leclerc took a new engine in Russia, which included the latest update of Ferrari's hybrid system, it was Sainz' turn last weekend to move to his fourth power unit of 2021 and thus take a grid penalty.

But when Sainz saw how quick Leclerc was on Friday during low- fuel runs, he admitted feeling "a bit of a regret" that he wouldn't be able to fight for a podium like his teammate on a weekend where Ferrari proved competitive.

Leclerc led spells of Sunday's wet race, conceding third place to Sergio Perez but keeping Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton at bay for fourth.

From the back of the grid Sainz moved up to eighth, just four seconds behind Lando Norris' McLaren, the team Ferrari is fighting with for third in the constructors' championship.

Despite losing what appears to have been a massive opportunity to strike back against McLaren, Sainz said he stands by the team's decision to take the grid penalty in Istanbul.

"No, I wouldn't change the decision, I think it was the perfect race to take the penalty to then do a comeback," Sainz said. "Of course, without the penalty with the old engine I would have been able to start more up front, but in a long season you need to put everything into perspective and this is a development that is giving us a bit of performance.

"So, I think the decision is taken correctly and we put it in as soon as we can, and it has given me also today the opportunity to make it back through the field.

"As you saw I could overtake and this is also thanks to the good job that everyone is doing in Maranello with the new power unit."

Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari SF21

Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari SF21

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

While Ferrari explained its engine upgrade was more aimed at 2022, it still delivered performance on the short term as team boss Binotto argued Leclerc would have started further back than fourth if he had been using Maranello's old specification.

"If I look behind [Charles], it was very close, and I'm pretty sure that a couple of positions would have been lost without that specification," said Binotto, who sat out the Turkish Grand Prix and worked from the factory.

Asked if Ferrari's power unit update will allow it to beat McLaren in 2021, Sainz said the fight for third will continue swinging back and forth depending on the circuit.

"It's a tricky question to answer," Sainz explained as Ferrari narrowed the gap to 7.5 points. "As you saw this weekend, we were quicker than McLaren. In Sochi, they were quicker than us, so I still believe it's going to be up and down until the end of year.

"What this engine should give us, I think it's the possibility for the circuits where we are behind to be a bit closer to them, and on circuits where we are in front, to be maybe a bit further up.

"This is what we were looking for since the upgrade was pushed forward, and what we hope is going to give us that little edge to try and make the fight a bit more complicated."

shares
comments
Ricciardo won’t let Turkish GP setback derail McLaren F1 momentum

Previous article

Ricciardo won’t let Turkish GP setback derail McLaren F1 momentum

Next article

Mercedes form has eased fears over 2022-triggered F1 slump

Mercedes form has eased fears over 2022-triggered F1 slump
Load comments
The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert Prime

The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert

It's 50 years since Jo Siffert was killed in his prime at Brands Hatch. The Swiss scored just two world championship wins in a Formula 1 career spent largely with privateer teams, but showed on numerous occasions in single-seaters and in sportscars with Porsche that he could beat any of the best drivers of his era given the right equipment.

Why a misunderstood Kimi Raikkonen will thrive in retirement Prime

Why a misunderstood Kimi Raikkonen will thrive in retirement

Three years on from Kimi Raikkonen's last Grand Prix victory at Austin, he is now six races away from ending the longest Formula 1 career in history. His friend and former Ice1 Racing rally team PR man Anthony Peacock explains why there’s nobody quite like the 2007 world champion and why F1 will miss him (but he won’t miss it).

How Verstappen has become F1 champion material Prime

How Verstappen has become F1 champion material

As Red Bull and Honda go all-out for victory in the Japanese engine manufacturer’s last season of its latest Formula 1 dalliance, Max Verstappen finds himself thrust into a compelling title fight with Lewis Hamilton. He told OLEG KARPOV about his evolution into a world championship contender and why Red Bull's no compromise ethos suits him down to the ground

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021
Why long-run times should please Red Bull in Austin F1 battle Prime

Why long-run times should please Red Bull in Austin F1 battle

Mercedes has been on a roll of late in the ultra-tight fight to win the 2021 Formula 1 world championship. It started off well in practice at Austin for this weekend’s US Grand Prix, but Red Bull got closer as Friday unfolded and even seemed to find an edge in one critical area of what seems set to be set to be another close contest.

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021
The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen Prime

The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen

The 2021 Formula 1 title battle is finely poised with six races remaining, as just six points separate championship leader Max Verstappen from seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton. In such a closely-fought season, the outcome could hinge on several small factors playing the way of Red Bull or Mercedes

Formula 1
Oct 22, 2021
Can Whitmarsh appointment help Aston succeed where its F1 rivals failed? Prime

Can Whitmarsh appointment help Aston succeed where its F1 rivals failed?

Aston Martin owner Lawrence Stroll is determined to make the group a billion-dollar business. MARK GALLAGHER analyses his latest play – bringing former McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh into the fold

Formula 1
Oct 22, 2021
Remembering Switzerland’s first F1 winner Prime

Remembering Switzerland’s first F1 winner

Stepping up to F1 in 1962, Jo Siffert shone with Rob Walker Racing Team and BRM before his career was abruptly ended in a fatal crash at Brands Hatch in 1971. Kevin Turner looks back at the life of Switzerland's first F1 winner on the 50th anniversary of his death

Formula 1
Oct 21, 2021
What Verstappen is risking with his current stance on 2021 F1 world title defeat Prime

What Verstappen is risking with his current stance on 2021 F1 world title defeat

OPINION: Max Verstappen is back in the lead of the 2021 Formula 1 drivers’ championship, with the season’s final flyaway events set to get underway in the USA this weekend. But a defensive stance he’s recently adopted could have a lasting impact for the Red Bull driver when it comes to his chances of defeating Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes

Formula 1
Oct 21, 2021