It was mixed emotions for Scuderia Ferrari at the Monaco Grand Prix. Carlos Sainz Jr. had the better race, securing his first podium with the team with a second-place finish.
Sainz Jr. started the race in fourth but was swiftly moved up to third when his polesitter teammate Charles Leclerc was unable to start the race. Sainz Jr. was able to keep the charging Lando Norris at bay and his luck grew more when Valtteri Bottas, who was running in second place, was forced to retire due to a pit-stop error.
At various points, he had the pace to challenge front runner Max Verstappen. However, with the track being notorious for being difficult to overtake on, Sainz Jr. had no luck for the win, crossing the line in the second of the podium places.
“The first podium in a Ferrari is an incredible feeling that I will never forget, especially being in Monaco! We knew we had a chance and the pace to make it to the podium this weekend and we executed a flawless race.” stated Sainz Jr.
“The bittersweet feeling is still there though as I feel for Charles and for the team. All of us here at the track and back home in Maranello are working incredibly hard to be competitive and to make our way back to the top. So it was very unfortunate that today we could not fight with two cars.
“From my side, I am obviously happy with P2 because I think it was the maximum we could achieve today from where we started. We are still missing the final step that we all want to make, but if we keep pushing like this I’m sure we will get there sooner rather than later! Forza Ferrari!“
“I was emotional in the car when I realised that there was something wrong” – Leclerc
Leclerc’s weekend went from the ultimate high to a low. The Monegasque driver secured pole position at his home race but ended up crashing his car in the dying stages of qualifying. With less than thirty seconds left, Leclerc clipped the wall, causing his car to crash into the barrier.
Going into the race, Ferrari confirmed that they were able to fix Leclerc’s car without needing to change his gearbox and will be starting the race up front. While driving his car to his position in the lead up to the car, Leclerc noticed another issue on his car and was forced back into pit.
With just a minute left before the pit-lane closed, Ferrari confirmed that Leclerc would not be able to start the race. His issue ended up being unrelated to the gearbox, instead being an issue with the driveshaft.
Leclerc said: “It was a tough one today. I really felt for the whole team.
“After what happened in qualifying, the mechanics did an incredible job and gave absolutely everything to get me back on track for the race. I was really looking forward to finally be fighting for the win for us here. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be.
“Not starting the race was difficult to take, especially at home. I was emotional in the car when I realised that there was something wrong. We still have to investigate what exactly was the issue.
“Overall, it was a good weekend for us though. Carlos was strong and consistent and I am happy for him and the whole team for scoring his first podium for Scuderia Ferrari. After a difficult year in 2020, this was a great reward for everyone, both at the track and back home in Maranello, and the team fully deserves it”