After a bitterly disappointing qualifying for Scuderia Ferrari at the Styrian Grand Prix, both Ferrari drivers did well to recover good points on Sunday, with Carlos Sainz Jr in sixth and Charles Leclerc in seventh.
After a disastrous qualifying on Saturday, Sainz did superbly well to recover a good haul of points after an excellent opening stint to the race. The Spaniard ran much longer than the majority of the midfield, giving him clean air to lap consistent times.
Amazingly when it came to his stop, Sainz managed to overcut a number of drivers and elevate himself up to sixth, with Lando Norris not too far ahead. Unfortunately for Sainz he got stuck behind Lewis Hamilton who had just lapped him.
Sainz did have stronger pace than Hamilton at the time but took too long to unlap himself, leaving Norris too far ahead with not enough laps left. Despite this, having not made final qualifying yet managing to finish in sixth is a great result, and one that gives him confidence for the second race at the Red Bull Ring this weekend.
“I had a strong race and it was a good result for the team! We had good pace from the very beginning, right until the end. I managed to run a very long first stint, doing very good laps once I was able to make the most of running in free air to overcut almost the entire midfield. The pit stop was spot on and that gave us a chance to chase P5 as I had a lot of pace on the Hard tyre.
“Unfortunately it took me a lot of laps to unlap myself from Hamilton. When I was following him, the front tyres were suffering. By the time I had a clear track ahead of me again, it was too late to try and pass Norris. Tomorrow we’ll start working on the second race here. We have an opportunity to improve and we want to do all we can to get another good result.”
“I would rank this as one of my best races” – Charles Leclerc
For Charles Leclerc it was also a brilliant recovery drive from the back of the field, despite it being his own fault for being at the back. Leclerc who started seventh ran wide at turn one and then made contact with the rear wheel of Pierre Gasly, almost immediately after rejoining the circuit.
The incident broke Leclerc’s front wing, resulting in an early pit-stop to replace it. This saw the Ferrari driver at the back of the field by the end of the first lap.
From then on it was one of the best drives in his Formula 1 career so far, as Leclerc stormed his way through the field and back up to seventh. Questions will be asked as to where Leclerc could have finished had he not caused the opening lap incident.
Leclerc will be relieved to get a second chance at the Red Bull Ring this weekend at the Austrian Grand Prix, where he will be hoping he won’t be last by the end of the first lap!
“It’s a bitter sweet feeling. The incident on lap 1 put us on the back foot. It’s a shame because we lost a good opportunity to bring home an even better result. From the second lap onwards, I would rank this as one of my best races so far in Formula 1. The car felt amazing, the pace was there, and I took every opportunity to make a strong recovery.
“In terms of performance, we extracted the maximum from the car. This shows how much work has gone on behind the scenes and what an amazing job the team has done especially in the last week. We have to go over all the data to understand exactly how we achieved this step so that we can hopefully repeat it next week.”