Carlos Sainz attributed his impressive comeback through the field in the Turkish Grand Prix was courtesy of the gains provided by Ferrari’s updated power unit.
Ferrari introduced an upgrade on Charles Leclerc’s car in Russia that led to a back-of-the-grid start, and Sainz then had the same penalty in Turkey. After Leclerc was fighting in the top three throughout the weekend and Sainz climbed into the top eight with impressive pace, the Spaniard admitted he was happy to take the grid drop in order to gain so much from the new power unit.
“No I wouldn’t change the decision, I think it was the perfect race to take the penalty to then do a comeback,” Sainz said. “Maybe, of course without the penalty with the old engine I would have been able to start more upfront and maybe a bit more in the mix, but in a long season you need to put everything into perspective and this is a development that is giving us a bit of performance as you see. And then you can put it in better (positions) because you have a more performing engine.
“So I think the decision is taken correctly and we put it in as soon as we can, and it has given me the opportunity to make it back through the field. As you saw, I could overtake and this is also thanks to the good job that everyone is doing in Maranello with the new power unit.”
A slow pit stop prevented Sainz making further progress, although that came after light contact with Sebastian Vettel that required an apology after the race.
— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) October 11, 2021
“It was very enjoyable to be honest, probably one of my most enjoyable races as a racing driver,” Sainz said. “When you have the pace I had and a track that allows you to overtake — especially when it’s wet — it was a pleasure. I could push really hard, obviously a shame about the pit stop that lost us the possibility to finish in the top five but it is what it is.
“We had very strong pace in the wet and then as the track was drying out we were following the conditions really well. There were a lot of overtakes, I did every single overtake on track; I didn’t get lucky at any point. I had to send it a couple of times!
“With Seb it was a tricky one, I already said sorry to him because I was a bit over-optimistic. But these Mercedes engines are a little bit difficult to pass, so you either go for it under braking or you don’t pass them. I wanted to keep the recovery going and I didn’t want to get stuck, and it worked.”