Sainz: "Strange" Sochi circuit could hold back Mercedes and Red Bull

Carlos Sainz thinks it's not a given that Formula 1 title contenders Mercedes and Red Bull will swiftly push through to the front of the Russian Grand Prix.

Sainz: "Strange" Sochi circuit could hold back Mercedes and Red Bull

The Ferrari driver is starting from the front row of the grid alongside Lando Norris after making the most of a switch to slick tyres in the final stages of Q3 on Saturday.

And while there is little doubt that the Mercedes and Red Bull starting behind are clearly ahead in overall race pace terms, the nature of the Sochi circuit could make it difficult for them to exploit their speed if they get trapped behind other cars.

That has given Sainz some hope that if he and Norris can break free at the front then they may be able to do something to hold on until the end.

"It's a strange circuit this one – because obviously race pace is important and we need to see how easy it is to overtake," explained the Spaniard. "Normally in the past it has been quite tricky.

"Obviously we have the two Mercs [Bottas has now taken a grid penalty] and the Red Bull that are going to be pushing us a lot.

"They are clearly, around here, half a second to one second quicker than us – so at some point they will put pressure on us and we will need to see if we can keep ourselves ahead.

"Obviously the target is to finish ahead of them, try to get Lando at the start – although I am starting on the dirty side, he is at least starting on the clean side - and see from there if we can race hard and have some fun at the front."

Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari, in the post Qualifying Press Conference

Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari, in the post Qualifying Press Conference

Photo by: FIA Pool

While second place on the grid has often been the best place to start the Russian Grand Prix from, because of the slipstream benefit down to Turn 2, Sainz thinks a good getaway for him will not be so easy.

As well as the negative of starting on the dirty side of the track, Sainz is well aware that Ferrari does not have the best straightline speed compared to the McLaren and Williams cars around him.

Speaking about the chances of getting ahead of Norris after the start, Sainz said: "I think there's two options.

"I either get a good getaway and it's a direct race into Turn 2, or, if not, obviously I'll need to try to find a slipstream, because we know we are not the fastest on the straights and we need to find some tow, some draft, because if not, it's going to be a long run down from Turn 1.

"But it's exciting. I've been sharing rows with this guy [Norris] pretty much the last two years in Formula 1, so we know very well each other.

"Hopefully we can have a good start, both, and keep pulling away because there's going to be the guys behind coming, and that's going to be when the fun starts."

Read Also:

shares
comments
Wolff wouldn’t be surprised to see Russell lead first F1 lap in Sochi
Previous article

Wolff wouldn’t be surprised to see Russell lead first F1 lap in Sochi

Next article

Why momentum is again behind Australia's aces

Why momentum is again behind Australia's aces
Load comments
Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

An ill-tempered Saudi Grand Prix made Formula 1 more soap opera than sporting spectacle at times, but there were some strong performances up and down the field on the world championship's first visit to Jeddah

How the Jeddah F1 race became a one-sitting Netflix drama series Prime

How the Jeddah F1 race became a one-sitting Netflix drama series

The inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was a race packed full of incident as Formula 1 2021's title contenders repeatedly clashed on track. Lewis Hamilton won out over Max Verstappen to level the scores heading into next weekend's Abu Dhabi finale, as Jeddah turned F1 into a drama series

The impressive attitude that earned Albon his second F1 chance Prime

The impressive attitude that earned Albon his second F1 chance

Dropped by Red Bull last season, Alexander Albon has fought back into a Formula 1 seat with Williams. ALEX KALINAUCKAS explains what Albon has done to earn the place soon to be vacated by the highly rated George Russell

Formula 1
Dec 5, 2021
The factors that could negate Red Bull's practice gap to Mercedes Prime

The factors that could negate Red Bull's practice gap to Mercedes

Mercedes led the way in practice for Formula 1’s first race in Jeddah, where Red Bull was off the pace on both single-lap and long runs. But, if Max Verstappen can reverse the results on Saturday, factors familiar in motorsport’s main electric single-seater category could be decisive in another close battle with Lewis Hamilton...

Formula 1
Dec 4, 2021
Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer Prime

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer

Earning praise from rivals has been a welcome sign that Lando Norris is becoming established among Formula 1's elite. But the McLaren driver is confident that his team's upward curve can put him in the mix to contend for titles in the future, when he's hoping the compliments will be replaced by being deemed an equal adversary

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention Prime

What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention

After a disastrous 2020 in which it slumped to sixth in the F1 constructors' standings, Ferrari has rebounded strongly and is on course to finish third - despite regulations that forced it to carryover much of its forgettable SF1000 machine. Yet while it can be pleased with its improvement, there are still steps it must make if 2022 is to yield a return to winning ways

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations Prime

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations

OPINION: The pressure is firmly on Red Bull and Mercedes as Formula 1 2021 embarks on its final double-header. How the respective teams deal with that will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the drivers' and constructors' championships, as Motorsport.com's technical consultant and ex-McLaren F1 engineer Tim Wright explains.

Formula 1
Dec 1, 2021
How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison Prime

How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells Stuart Codling about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021