Carlos Sainz says traffic on his out-lap limited him to second place in the Monaco Grand Prix for the second year in a row.
The Spaniard started third in 2021 but finished second behind Max Verstappen due to Charles Leclerc’s failure to make the grid, and this year he was lining up alongside his teammate on the front row. Despite overruling Ferrari’s strategic call and spending a spell in the lead, he says the out-lap after his pit stop for slicks proved to be the decisive moment that cost him his first win in Formula 1.
“I felt like we did everything that we had to do out there,” Sainz said. “We stayed patient on the wets, we took the right decision to go onto the slick, and a lapped car — or a terrible out-lap stuck behind a lapped car — cost me a race win. So you can understand the frustration because a clean out-lap would have secured me the race win but it’s how the sport is sometimes.
“I started to see the dry line and to realize that it was going to go straight into slicks. I think we did the right call, as we were leading the race basically. Then we pitted it for that hard tire. Obviously hard (compound) is never easy on the out-lap but I had to do 12 corners or something like that behind the lapped car that cost me at least a couple of seconds, and that cost me a race win.
“Anyway, I’m not going complain too much. I know that this sport is like that. Checo (Perez) was unlucky in Jeddah. Obviously he did a great race, plus he got a bit lucky with myself and in this sport it will turn around one day or later.”
Sainz spent much of the final part of the race right on Perez’s gearbox as the Red Bull driver struggled with graining, but he says he didn’t feel trying an overtaking attempt was worth the risk in the conditions.
“It was tempting into the chicane but unfortunately the track was still a bit wet on the inside. So if I go and brake late in there, it would have been a bit of a mess and I probably could have taken Checo out with me.
“Tempting in a couple of other places but realistically, with these big, wide cars, the spaces are really narrow and even on a drying track, where there’s damp patches offline, it’s almost impossible. I tried everything I could to nearly launch a move, but even when I did, I nearly took him with me. So yeah, I think I did everything I could.”