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Sainz Secures Third Podium in Season's Hat-Trick

Sainz Secures Third Podium in Season’s Hat-Trick

08/04/2024

In an impressive display, Carlos Sainz clinched his third consecutive podium, overcoming challenges and strategic races. His performance highlights his confidence and Ferrari’s advancements against the dominant Red Bulls.

Finishing third behind the untouchable Red Bulls in Japan, Carlos Sainz secured his third podium in as many races this season, despite being notably absent in Jeddah. The Spanish driver shared that he was confident about achieving such a result before the Grand Prix began.

“We were aware that our race pace was superior to our qualifying pace. While it might not be enough to aim for the win, given our fourth-place start and considering Red Bull’s race pace, thinking about victory seemed almost impossible. However, I was hopeful about reaching the podium, which we ultimately did, despite the race being very challenging and strategic. The track conditions changed significantly throughout the race. We went from a very sunny track, which we hadn’t experienced all weekend, to a very cloudy one. Tyre degradation decreased substantially, allowing for more aggressive tyre usage midway through the race. Indeed, the dynamics shifted significantly. There was a point when I thought the podium was out of reach, but with a new set of hard tyres, the pace was excellent, and I managed to claim a podium position.”

Scuderia Ferrari thus confirms it is the top team that has made the most progress relative to Red Bull since F1’s last visit to Suzuka six months ago.

“Yes, it’s very gratifying. We’ve precisely improved the car in the areas we intended to, and Suzuka has proven that. In places like Suzuka, we’re still not as fast as Red Bull, which is the goal, but as soon as we introduce a significant improvement to the car that moves us in the right direction, I hope we can close the gap. But yes, we’ve improved everywhere, especially in race pace. This also grants us more strategic flexibility, something we lacked last year. It allows me to be more proactive in races and, instead of constantly checking my mirrors, to compensate with strategy and then overtake others, something that was not an option last year. So, I’m happy and enjoying the races more.”

Can Ferrari still challenge Red Bull in the championship?

While Ferrari is indeed progressing, Red Bull appears to be heading straight for the world titles again this year. Does Sainz share this view?

“I believe they will definitely have an advantage in the first third of the season until we introduce one or two upgrades that will allow us to battle them more consistently. However, by then, it might be a bit too late given the lead they might have in the championship. In the meantime, we need more results like Australia’s! I don’t see Red Bull, as a team, making those mistakes often, no. It’s unfortunate because I also missed a race, which could be costly for the team and me in the championship. We’re down one race, but at the same time, we’ll give it our all. It’s also my last year at Ferrari, so yes, there’s nothing to lose, and we’ll do everything to come back.”

While Ferrari’s F1 performance has undoubtedly improved, Carlos Sainz seems to have elevated his game this year. However, he prefers to highlight the car provided by his team.

“People might think I’m experiencing a better moment behind the wheel, but the reality in Formula 1 is that the car is very important, and having a good car is crucial. This year, I’m in a very good phase. I’m driving at a high level, but at the same time, having a car that allows you to push further, to be closer in dirty air, and to be more strategic, lets you shine a bit more, you know. That’s why it’s important in a driver’s career to be in a good car because last year, it felt like we were always falling back, always defending. We were very poor at managing tyres, making it difficult to perform well in races. This year, three races, three podiums, a lot of overtaking, one win. The picture is completely different. It shows how crucial it is in this sport.”

Sainz Secures Third Podium in Season's Hat-Trick

Sainz Secures Third Podium in Season’s Hat-Trick. Sainz Secures Third Podium in Season’s Hat-Trick

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