Sainz proud McLaren's speed made Leclerc "give up" at Suzuka

Carlos Sainz called his latest fifth-place finish “a bit more special than others” after being so quick he forced Ferrari and Charles Leclerc to "give up" in the Japanese Grand Prix.

Sainz proud McLaren's speed made Leclerc "give up" at Suzuka

Sainz qualified seventh and took advantage of Leclerc’s clash with Max Verstappen to run as high as fourth early on and eventually match his best result of the season.

Leclerc had to recover through the field after damaging his front wing hitting Verstappen on the opening lap, but was unable to get within five seconds of Sainz in the second half of the race and eventually aborted his long stint to change tyres.

When Motorsport.com suggested it must have felt good to force Ferrari to do that, Sainz said: “Oh yeah, it did. When you have a Ferrari 10 seconds behind, and when they are a couple of seconds faster in race pace, you think you’re not going to make it.

“But I had been saving my tyres at the beginning of the stint and when I was required to push I was able to find half a second of pace and although he was half a second quicker for the first three or four laps, he suddenly degraded and I kept up the pace and he gave up. It was nice!”

Suzuka was the third time this season Sainz has finished fifth.

He has also moved above erstwhile Red Bull driver Pierre Gasly into sixth in the drivers’ championship.

Sainz said he ranked this result so favourably because of McLaren’s sheer pace in the race.

“And we were able to, for the first time, feel the car working really nicely together in the first sector,” said Sainz.

“And whenever the team asked me to pick up the pace I started doing 33.5s and Leclerc couldn’t keep up, and suddenly we were managing to hold up a Ferrari and managing to match Albon on pace.

“It’s the first time this year it has happened, so I’m very pleased and proud of that.”

Read Also:

Sainz survived a near-miss with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton on the opening lap as he took advantage of the Verstappen/Leclerc clash and a poor start from Red Bull’s Alex Albon to surge into fourth place.

With Hamilton slowed slightly by the contact ahead, Sainz moved to the right of the five-time world champion and they bounced off each other as they swept into the first part of the Esses.

Sainz said: “He was on my blind spot so I didn’t know where the Mercedes was.

“I knew he was somewhere on the inside and obviously they are a lot quicker through the Esses – in quali it was quite impressive to see them!

“I didn’t know where he was, so I had to lift a bit and leave a bit of space, and it was just enough for him to go flat and pass me. It was impressive.”

shares
comments
What Ferrari has to do to match Mercedes' dominance
Previous article

What Ferrari has to do to match Mercedes' dominance

Next article

Early end to Japanese GP "very unfortunate", Masi admits

Early end to Japanese GP "very unfortunate", Masi admits
Load comments
How Ferrari gained a new edge over McLaren in F1 2021 battle Prime

How Ferrari gained a new edge over McLaren in F1 2021 battle

Supremacy in the McLaren vs Ferrari fight over third place in the constructors’ championship has ebbed and flowed between the two teams so far in the 2021 Formula 1 season. But for several key reasons, right now it seems the advantage has swung decisively back to the Scuderia and McLaren knows it.

The details that boosted Verstappen and held back Hamilton in Austin Prime

The details that boosted Verstappen and held back Hamilton in Austin

As the 2021 Formula 1 title battle winds towards its climax, the United States GP added another thrilling act in the Lewis Hamilton-Max Verstappen battle. Although Hamilton aced the start, Verstappen and Red Bull took the initiative with strategy and were richly rewarded, despite Mercedes' best efforts as the race went down to the wire

Formula 1
Oct 25, 2021
US Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

US Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a baking hot afternoon in Texas, Formula 1 drivers were tested to their limits. As the pressure on the title contending squads reaches an ever-greater level of intensity, the foremost challengers again showed their class, but were outshone by a standout drive from the upper midfield

Formula 1
Oct 25, 2021
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.

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
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).

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
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