RACE DEBRIEF

    Carlos Sainz delivered one of his most accomplished drives this season in the Austrian Grand Prix, producing a performance that he believes is “a bit more the Carlos that I want to be in Ferrari”.

    The Spaniard was one of only two drivers to start the Grand Prix on the hard-compound tyres, which meant the opening laps from P10 on the grid were tricky as he got them up to temperature.

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    And though he lost four positions, his ability to run 50 laps into the race before his first stop, giving him fresh mediums for the final 20 meant he had a car capable of scything through the field.

    “It was [the best-case scenario] finishing P5,” he said. “It was a good accomplishment especially after struggling massively on Lap 1 with the hard tyre. It was a bit of a bold choice to start on the hard especially feeling the grip in the formation lap and on Lap 1 I was like ‘whoa, I’m really going to struggle versus the medium and the soft runners here’.

    2021 Austrian Grand Prix: Sainz overtakes Leclerc and Ricciardo in late charge

    “But somehow I managed to keep it together, stay patient and did a very long stint on the hards, I think it was 50 laps, and attack at the end which was super fun. We managed to put together a very strong P5 finish so very happy.”

    RACE HIGHLIGHTS: Watch all the action from Austria as Verstappen takes third victory in a row

    Sainz pulled off a string of good overtakes, including on McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo, before closing enough on the Red Bull of Sergio Perez to inherit his position when the Mexican’s 10-second penalty was applied at the flag. He was pleased with the team’s progress, particularly with regards getting the Pirelli tyres into the right window.

    “[The final stint] was great as you’ve got fresh tyres,” he said. “Maybe having a bit more top line speed would have helped make the move on Daniel a bit easier but I gave it my best and we keep improving, we keep being strong in the corners, we improved a lot the tyre management this weekend.

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    Sainz and Leclerc made it a second double-points finish in a row for the Scuderia in Austria

    “We’ve nailed the strategy two weekends in a row. P6, P5, it’s starting to be a bit more the Carlos that I want to be in Ferrari and we are starting to execute the races the way we want to execute them.”

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    It was Sainz’s second fightback through the field in as many races, having come from P12 to P6 last time out at the Red Bull Ring, and his 14th points score in 16 Grands Prix.

    He’s now seventh in the drivers’ standings on 60 points, two shy of Ferrari team mate Charles Leclerc.