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Sainz rues late Safety Car as he narrowly misses P18 to podium recovery at Monza

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Carlos Sainz was left feeling a touch frustrated after the Italian Grand Prix as the appearance of a late Safety Car halted his charge from the back of the grid and ended any hopes of a podium finish.

Having qualified third fastest – behind Ferrari team mate Charles Leclerc and Red Bull rival Max Verstappen – Sainz started Sunday’s race at Monza back in P18 after taking on a host of new power unit and gearbox components.

What followed was an impressive recovery drive as Sainz picked off the cars ahead to climb up to fourth position, a spot in front of Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton – who delivered a similarly impressive performance from P19 on the grid. Sainz said that he couldn't pick off the other Mercedes thanks to the late Safety Car at Monza.

READ MORE: Verstappen takes his first-ever Italian Grand Prix win behind the Safety Car as Leclerc has to settle for P2

Speaking after the race, Sainz said: “[I was] a bit frustrated in the end. Obviously, I saw the podium very near, very close to me – in the last laps I was catching George by 1.5s – we were very quick out there.

“Unfortunately, the Safety Car came out after a very good race, a race where I had a lot of pace. I could make a lot of moves and put myself into podium contention very early.”

Sainz ‘frustrated’ after late Safety Car robs him of podium chance at Ferrari’s home race

However, despite the disappointment of missing out on a podium – and echoing the thoughts of Leclerc in P2 – Sainz drew positives from Ferrari’s performance as the Scuderia look to get back to winning ways.

READ MORE: FIA explain decision to end Italian Grand Prix behind Safety Car

Asked if he has more confidence for the rest of the season, Sainz said: "For sure, because today we were really quick. I felt really at home with the car, especially on the soft stint – also overtaking people it felt good.

"I feel like we have taken a step forward and now we need to keep maximising the races and the results will come."

Ferrari leave Monza for Marina Bay, where they won in 2019, as the Singapore Grand Prix returns on September 30-October 2.

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