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Sainz overcame "more obstacles than I was expecting" for dramatic Ferrari podium

Sainz overcame "more obstacles than I was expecting" for dramatic Ferrari podium

F1 News

Sainz overcame "more obstacles than I was expecting" for dramatic Ferrari podium

Sainz overcame "more obstacles than I was expecting" for dramatic Ferrari podium
Ian Parkes & Ewan Gale

Carlos Sainz has revealed to overcoming "more obstacles than I was expecting" after fighting back to finish third in a chaotic Russian Grand Prix.

The Spaniard burst into the lead into turn two and looked in a commanding position with strong pace in the opening stanza of the race at the Sochi Autodrom, only for tyre graining to plague him at the end of the first stint.

An early pit stop threatened to drop Sainz outside of the top five but when heavy rain fell in the final five laps, Ferrari timed its switch to intermediate tyres to perfection to claim a podium behind Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull's Max Verstappen.

"At one point in the race, it really looked like it was going wrong," said Sainz.

"After suffering so much graining on the medium tyre, after leading the race quite comfortably for the first seven or eight laps and facing so much degradation and losing the position to Lando, then being one of the first ones to pit and being in the queue behind Valtteri [Bottas] and suffering from all that traffic, at some point I really didn't think the podium was happening.

"But I found myself P3 in front of [Sergio] Perez 10 laps to the end and I said now is a good opportunity to keep this position.

"I had good pace on the hard, I had a good feeling. But then suddenly I saw the rain coming.

"It was starting to rain in turn five and turn seven and all of us out there on hards were struggling massively to keep the car on track while people on mediums looked to have a bit more grip with the softer tyre, managing to keep the car on track whilst I was nowhere.

"I was at some point considering changing to the soft tyre just to make it to the end and in the end, we decided to go for interest for the last four laps and it worked out beautifully and we ended up third.

"Good calls, good management, just a bit more obstacles I was expecting after leading into turn two."

Sainz nearly "banged wheels" in fight for slipstream

Sainz started from the dirty side of the grid and was swamped by George Russell and Daniel Ricciardo into turn one but after a tussle with the Williams driver was able to slipstream behind Lando Norris to take the lead.

"I got the best possible start on the dirty side," explained Sainz.

"We know here the dirty side has quite a big disadvantage so I think both Lewis and I got away decently, I think it was Lando, George and Daniel who were just flying off the line.

"Everyone off the left-hand side were flying off the line, a bit like last year basically. I managed to get side by side with George and we were nearly banging wheels to see who was the one catching Lando's tow.

"In the end, Lando drifted a bit to the right and that gave me the extra bit of tow. I managed to get good momentum and broke really late into turn two around the outside and made it stick.

"It is probably one of the first times in my career I could lead the race into turn two and I had to try. It worked well."

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