Sainz: Verstappen will have to "fight" for podium place

McLaren Formula 1 driver Carlos Sainz plans to go on the attack at the start of the Italian GP, while accepting that his race could turn into one of defence.

Sainz: Verstappen will have to "fight" for podium place

Sainz qualified third at Monza, behind the Mercedes pairing of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, and he has the Racing Point of Sergio Perez, the Red Bull of Max Verstappen immediately behind, with his teammate Lando Norris and Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo next up.

The McLarens have usually made good starts this year, and Sainz suggested that he could mix it with the Mercedes drivers at the start, but would otherwise have to rely on something going amiss for them if he is to improve on his third place.

He agreed that his focus would have to be on securing third, with Red Bull and Renault in particular showing good race pace through the weekend – and stressed that Verstappen will have to fight his way past.

“I think more than third would require Mercedes doing something wrong, and we don't normally see them getting anything wrong, or get reliability wrong,” he said when asked by Motorsport.com. “But you know, never say never.

“And with Max, our target is if he's going to be quicker, hopefully we can keep him behind at the start, and he will need to fight for it, and get us either on race pace, or around the pitstops. 

“Obviously, we normally get good starts. And I always think about going on the attack. I will still go on the attack independently of who I have in front, because that's the approach that's always worked for me, and I will not change it.

“But I agree with you that the rest of the race could be a bit of a defending race and we need to keep our eyes open and everything.”

Read Also:

Sainz stressed that he sees Verstappen as the major threat, given the Red Bull’s usual race form.

“It's been a bit of a surprise to be in front of the Red Bull and the Renault, because honestly looking at the long runs they looked like the quicker car. As we know our car when you get down on fuel it comes to life a bit more.

“But I think Verstappen is normally the only car that manages to keep up with the Mercedes on race pace and, and for us, I think it's impossible to do that.

"So if all of a sudden he manages to have the race pace that he normally has, with the Red Bull, which always comes to life in the race, it's going to be very difficult for us to keep him behind.

“With Ricciardo I guess it’s a bit more of a question mark, because he's starting a bit further back.

"But that Renault on race pace looked very strong in Spa, and looked very strong in FP2. So I think those guys are going to be the trickiest ones, and the Racing Points I don't know.

“We'll try to keep behind whoever we need to try to keep behind. We are obviously in a very good position, and we're going to try and keep ourselves there, knowing that Verstappen and the Renaults are gonna be very, very difficult to keep behind.”

He added: “I think they definitely have at least two-tenths a lap on race pace. It's enough I think around Monza to overtake, and to make my life very difficult. 

“But it's a very long race here in Monza, a lot of laps and two-tenths a lap over 50-something laps is a lot, so we'll see how it pans out."

shares
comments

Related video

Renault to be rebranded as Alpine for 2021 F1 season
Previous article

Renault to be rebranded as Alpine for 2021 F1 season

Next article

Williams family news came as a “shock” to F1 race team

Williams family news came as a “shock” to F1 race team
Load comments
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

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

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
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Prime

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as Ben Anderson discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren Prime

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren

From being lapped by his own teammate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Prime

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing wind tunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher Prime

The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles as a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021