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‘It was always going to be tricky for us’ – Sainz reflects on late-race drop down the order at Silverstone

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It was a race of what might have been for Ferrari at Silverstone after Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz were forced to settle for the final points on offer due to their strategies being negatively impacted by a late-race Safety Car.

Leclerc and Sainz started fourth and fifth respectively but earlier stops than a host of rivals meant their charges back through the field were dented when the encounter was neutralised – allowing the cars around them to save time when they visited the pits.

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While Sainz pitted for hard tyres just before the Virtual Safety Car and Safety Car that followed, Leclerc came in for a second time to swap from hards to mediums, meaning the duo were seventh and 10th respectively when the action resumed.

A tricky phase for Sainz saw him lose places to Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, the Williams of Alex Albon and team mate Leclerc in quick succession, meaning it was the Monegasque who came home ahead in ninth, with the Spaniard rounding out the points.

Reflecting on the race, and his strategy, Sainz said: “I think I was always going to be a bit exposed with that hard tyre, but we tried. We had no tyres to fit at the pit stop.

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“If we would have boxed behind the Virtual, behind the Safety car, we would have come out P10 behind cars with the same tyres as us, so it would have always been very tricky to make it through.

“We tried our luck and it didn’t work out like it was meant to be, but overall a strong race, strong pace, but again bad timing, bad luck and P10.”

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He continued: “I feel like today we were actually not doing a bad race. We were definitely struggling on pace compared to McLaren and Mercedes, more than we expected, but we know with this wind and this track it’s always going to be tricky for us.

“But we were not doing a bad race, we were coming back a bit on the second stint with the hard, and unfortunately the Safety Car came out and we couldn’t finish the race I think where we deserved, that was P6, P7 more or less.”

Race Highlights: 2023 British Grand Prix

Leclerc offered up similar thoughts to Sainz after his particularly early stop – more than 10 laps before the Safety Car was deployed – tempted Ferrari to call him in for a second time.

“It is very disappointing,” he said of the race. “In the first stint we didn’t have great pace compared to the Mercedes and McLaren. I managed to keep George [Russell] behind, I think that maybe George was planning to come in if we were staying out, so probably the team decided that it was better to be aggressive ourselves and pit.

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“That put us quite a bit on the back foot for the rest of the race. Then I was on the hard, trying to manage the tyres, because I knew I had to go to the end of the race on these tyres.

“Then unfortunately there was a Safety Car and everybody passed us there. Then it was a race of DRS until the end of the race and no overtaking, so it was a disappointing race today.”

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