Charles Leclerc was positive after the São Paulo Grand Prix on Sunday after climbing from seventh on the grid to finish fifth, the best of the rest behind the leading two teams.
The Scuderia Ferrari driver had been disappointed with his performance during Saturday’s Sprint Qualifying at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace, but he felt he performed better on Sunday, with his start giving him track position over his nearest competitors.
Although well behind the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team and Red Bull Racing on Sunday, Leclerc was pleased to end fifth and to score good points in the Constructors’ Championship for Ferrari as they battle the McLaren F1 Team for third place.
“That was a really nice race,” said Leclerc. “We weren’t satisfied after the Sprint Qualifying yesterday, so we worked hard last night to analyse where we could make some improvements. And that’s what we applied today, so I am very happy with the performance.
“I had a very good start, which was my first target. After that, the race was all about managing the tyres well and maintaining the gap to those behind me.
“It’s also looking good in terms of the gap we are building to our direct competitors in the championship, so overall, a very positive finish to the weekend.”
“I cannot be happy with today’s result” – Carlos Sainz Jr.
Whereas Leclerc was happy with his result, the same could not be said for team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr., who finished only sixth after starting third on the grid.
Sainz survived contact with McLaren’s Lando Norris heading towards turn one on the opening lap, but that lap saw him drop back behind both Leclerc and Red Bull’s Sergio Pérez, while the Spaniard was one of Lewis Hamilton’s victims on his way from tenth to the win.
Two years ago in Brazil, Sainz was celebrating his maiden Formula 1 podium finish, but he felt he could have done better on Sunday, particularly at the start, having been forced to settle for sixth at the chequered flag.
“I cannot be happy with today’s result as I think if I had made a clean getaway from the line it would probably have ended with P5,” said Sainz. “We need to keep digging into that to understand what was the cause, as we are lacking consistency off the line.
“I then had contact with Lando (Norris) and that ended up costing me positions to Checo (Perez) and Charles. From there, the pace was strong the entire race, but that was it.
“There are a lot of positives to take away from this weekend. First of all the points that we were able to collect as a team to extend the lead over McLaren and secondly the good feeling with the car, the tyre management and the strong pace since Friday.
“It’s just frustrating that I haven’t made the most of the last two races after eventful starts, but we’ll keep pushing! On to the final race of this triple-header.”