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Sainz frustrated to miss out on Austrian GP podium after ‘playing the team game’

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Carlos Sainz has admitted to being left with a “sour feeling” after the Austrian Grand Prix, with the Ferrari driver’s promising race at the Red Bull Ring ultimately yielding only a fourth-place finish, which became sixth after a post-race time penalty.

Sainz ran third behind Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc in the early stages of Sunday’s race, but after closing in on his team mate for second position, he was instructed by the Ferrari pit wall to hold position.

READ MORE: Verstappen beats Leclerc for victory in Austria to make it five wins in a row

With the instruction heeded, Sainz’s afternoon was further compromised by being the second of the Ferraris to pit under the early Virtual Safety Car, costing him valuable time as he dropped behind Sergio Perez, Lando Norris and Lewis Hamilton.

While Norris and Hamilton were easy targets in the following laps, Sainz could not out-race Perez to the chequered flag and had to settle for fourth position.

However, following a protest from Aston Martin regarding the provisional classification, the FIA looked at a number of instances where a car was reported as potentially leaving the track.

Sainz was one of eight drivers to receive a post-race penalty. His totalled 10 seconds and dropped him two places to sixth, behind Norris and Fernando Alonso.

2023 Austrian Grand Prix: Pole-sitter Verstappen fends off Leclerc to keep the lead on the race start

“Yeah, obviously frustrated with the final outcome after having such a strong pace on the medium [tyres], feeling also like I was playing the team game and not getting rewarded with a good result,” said Sainz, speaking before the additional 10-second time penalty was awarded.

“It leaves you always with a sour feeling. I’ve been very strong today, very quick, very fast, good overtaking, good defending, but in the end P4 is not what I want.”

DRIVER OF THE DAY: Superb fifth place in Austria earns Norris your vote

As for the decision to pit under the caution, Sainz continued: “The Virtual Safety Car ending like it was, I think it would have made sense because I was always going to get a bit penalised by that, which I did.

SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JULY 02: Lando Norris of Great Britain driving the (4) McLaren MCL60 Mercedes

Sainz recovered to fourth via a wheel-to-wheel scrap with former team mate Norris

“I think I lost six or seven seconds of race time, three positions which I had to recover then, using my tyres, track limits… From the first stop onwards my race was quite compromised, especially a shame after having such a good pace.”

However, Sainz still took plenty of hope from Ferrari’s upgraded package and his own level of driving as the F1 paddock moves straight from Spielberg to Silverstone for the British Grand Prix next weekend.

READ MORE: Formula 1 to continue to race in Austria until 2030 under new long-term agreement

“Yeah, I’m very happy with the car performance this weekend, with my feeling with the car,” he commented. “I think I’m also in a good personal moment with my driving, with my understanding of the car, how to drive it in the race, it’s just a shame that we could not maximise the result.”

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