Carlos Sainz says he hopes he and Lando Norris can pull away from the field together and help each other fight for victory at the Russian Grand Prix.
Norris (pictured at right with Sainz after qualifying, above) took the first pole position of his career, beating former McLaren teammate Sainz into second place with his final lap of the session. The McLaren is particularly quick in a straight line while Ferrari struggles comparatively for top speed, and Sainz believes the best chance of holding off the quicker Mercedes and Red Bull drivers behind could be to work together.
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“I think there’s two options,” Sainz said. “I either get a good getaway and it’s a drag race to Turn 2, or if not we need to find a slipstream as we know we are not the fastest on the straights and we’re going to need to find some tow, some draft, because if not it will be a long run down to Turn 2.
“I’ve been sharing rows with this guy pretty much the last two years in Formula 1 so we know each other very well, so hopefully we can both have a good start and keep pulling away because there’s going to be the guys behind coming and that’s going to be where the fun starts.”
Although Mercedes in particular has enjoyed a clear pace advantage in Sochi so far this weekend, Sainz says it could prove difficult for cars to overtake on a low-grip surface on Sunday.
“It’s a strange circuit this one — race pace is important and we need to see how easy it is to overtake. Normally in the past it has been quite tricky; we have the two Mercedes and the Red Bull that are going to be pushing us a lot.
“They are clearly half a second to a second faster than us around here so at some point they will put pressure on us and we will need to see if we can keep ourselves ahead. Obviously the target is to finish ahead, try and get Lando at the start — but I’m on the dirty side — and see if from there we can race hard and have some fun at the front.”