Charles Leclerc felt ‘pretty happy’ with the performance shown by Scuderia Ferrari during the Dutch Grand Prix weekend, with the Monegasque racer starting and finishing fifth on Sunday.
Leclerc said he did not want to take too many risks at the start, but once the race settled down, he found the pace of his SF21 to be close to the pace of Pierre Gasly in fourth place, but the Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda driver just had that little extra to prevent him from moving up a place.
He was also surprised by the performance and longevity of the medium compound of Pirelli tyre, but he still felt his strategy of using the soft and then the hard compounds was the right way to go.
“I’m pretty happy with our overall performance of this weekend,” said Leclerc. “Finishing with both cars in the points today is a good result.
“The start was good, but then I didn’t want to take too many risks. I think the main surprise for everyone was how long the Mediums could last. Still, I think that the Soft–Hard combination was the right choice for us. We were very close in pace to the car ahead, but it was just not enough today.
“The atmosphere was amazing, and it was really great to see so many people cheering in the grandstands. I can’t wait to see the same, just in red, in Monza next week.”
“I could not match the pace I had on Friday” – Carlos Sainz Jr.
Team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr. finished seventh after being passed late in the day by his countryman Fernando Alonso, and it left the Spaniard less than pleased with the result.
Sainz crashed heavily during final practice on Saturday morning and his mechanics worked frantically to get him out for Qualifying, and he rewarded them by putting the car sixth on the grid.
However, he did not have the same kind of feeling on the long runs as he did on Friday, and as a result he was left fending off challenges from behind rather than fighting to move forward. His points, combined with those of Leclerc, saw Ferrari regain third place in the Constructors’ Championship ahead of the McLaren F1 Team.
“Overall, it’s been a positive weekend for the team, although it hasn’t been the best for me, despite the good recovery from yesterday,” said Sainz. “My race today was very far from what I was looking for.
“I could not match the pace I had on Friday, as I completely lost the good feeling I’d had with the car up until then. I just couldn’t find the right balance, sliding too much and I had a lot of degradation. I was planning to attack and fight for positions, but I ended up having to defend. We need to analyse what happened today and move on.
“On the positive side, we scored some good points for the team, which puts us in a stronger position in the Constructors’.”
This weekend sees Sainz race at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza for the first time as a Ferrari driver, and he is certain that it will be a weekend to remember in front of the legendary Tifosi.
“Now I am looking forward to Monza,” said Sainz. “It will be my first Italian GP as a Ferrari driver and I am sure it’ll be a weekend I will remember forever.”