Sainz buoyed by feeling of being fastest on track in Montreal

Zak Mauger/Motorsport Images

Sainz buoyed by feeling of being fastest on track in Montreal

Formula 1

Sainz buoyed by feeling of being fastest on track in Montreal

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Carlos Sainz believes he was the fastest driver in the Canadian Grand Prix but didn’t have a big enough pace advantage to overtake Max Verstappen for victory.

Verstappen led from pole position but Sainz was closing down on him in the middle part of the race and looked set to attempt a one-stop strategy before a late safety car saw him pit and emerge right behind the Red Bull. For the final 16 laps, the pair fought less than a second apart but Sainz couldn’t launch the move he needed to take first and had to settle for second place.

“I was pushing flat out,” Sainz said. “I wasn’t leaving any inch to the walls under braking. I was pushing everything with the battery. I tried everything to pass Max, but today we just didn’t have enough pace delta to get him close enough in the hairpin, to then get him a bit out of line into the chicane.

“But yeah, the positive thing is that we were quicker — we were faster all race — it’s just that little bit more to overtake around here.

“I mean, without the DRS it’s impossible, because the DRS is still affecting you quite a lot, especially at this track where you cannot do different lines. It’s all chicanes that you have nowhere to put your front wing to avoid the understeer and the overheating of the tires.

“But, even like that, I was happy and confident to be in the dirty air and managed to stay…[within  DRS range for 16 laps]. I could close — I think in lap 3 — as soon as the DRS opened, and it was all about cooling the tires and regaining the battery to try and really drain it when catching him.

“As I said, I left everything out there. But compared to a Red Bull today, we were quicker, I think, the whole race. First time this season that I think I can say that I was fastest man on track, which gives me some confidence and hope for the next races. Two or three tenths is not enough to pass a Red Bull; you need more like five, six tenths of pace delta if you really want to have any chance of passing Max.”

With Verstappen fearing he might not have caught Sainz in the second part of the race before the safety car intervened, the Spaniard agreed that he felt well-placed to execute a one-stop strategy to win.

“I felt like…without the Safety Car he wouldn’t have caught me easy. I think it would have been a good battle at the end. With him catching up on me, I was ready to hang it out there until the checkered flag. I was on good pace — I was still doing 17.3s — and I think we could have made it to the flag.”

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