Carlos Sainz Jr. felt it was a crazy Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday, which saw him fighting for a podium finish despite starting down in fifteenth place on the grid.
Sainz crashed during Qualifying on Saturday afternoon during Q2, which left him towards the back of the field for the start. However, the Scuderia Ferrari driver was able miss the chaos in turn one to come out in fourth place.
When the red flag flew, Sainz dropped behind both Nicholas Latifi and Yuki Tsunoda and was running fifth prior to the pit stops, but when the two ahead of him pitted, he was able to jump them both and run third.
However, a charging Lewis Hamilton denied him a top three place on the road, although he would later move up to the final podium place when Sebastian Vettel was disqualified from second place.
“What a crazy race. After starting P15 we actually had a good chance of a podium,” said Sainz. “Losing positions to Williams and AlphaTauri after the first pit stop due to the traffic in the pit lane cost us dearly. We were in the hunt for the win at that point, but instead we lost any real chance of fighting for it.
“In the first stint on slicks, once I was in clean air, the pace was super strong and I overcut Latifi and Tsunoda. Unfortunately in the last few laps I couldn’t do much to defend from Hamilton, as I was on very old Hard tyres, having to look after the fuel and also coming up behind the McLaren at the end of the main straight which made it impossible to defend that podium position.
“I feel for Charles today because he was taken out through no fault of his own and I’m sure we could’ve scored more points with both cars.”
Sainz feels the first half of his first season with Ferrari has been positive, and he hopes to come back after the summer break by making another step as he bids to fight for regular podium finishes.
“Overall, the first half of this first season with Ferrari has been positive,” he said. “We still need to continue to understand the car in every type of corner and condition, but I think we are definitely on the right path.
“We’ll keep pushing and come back recharged after the summer break.”
“Getting caught out like this is just a shame” – Charles Leclerc
Team-mate Charles Leclerc’s race was over on the opening lap, with the Monegasque racer being hit at turn one by Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team’s Lance Stroll.
Leclerc felt he was heading to be in good position after passing the initial incident between Valtteri Bottas, Lando Norris and the two Red Bull Racing drivers, but an errant Stroll put paid to his chances of points. He was obviously disappointed as he stepped out of the car, with Leclerc feeling he was heading for a place inside the top three.
Ferrari have subsequently revealed that the engine has been damaged beyond repair, leaving him with just two useable engines for the remainder of the season, meaning penalties are likely for Leclerc later in the year.
“A hugely frustrating Sunday for me,” said Leclerc. “I had a strong start and was in a good position, fighting for second or third.
“I knew that I had an opportunity today, so I took it easy and moved with caution. I was taking the first corner and no way was I expecting anyone to make that kind of move on me. Getting caught out like this is just a shame.
“The damage was so big that once I arrived at the braking point for the next corner, I spun straight away. Not the way we wanted to head into the summer break, but that’s how it is.”