[Sainz explains F1 rear tyre woes in Italian GP after losing to Red Bull duo
Polesitter Sainz enjoyed a strong initial launch to move across the racing line and hold his position ahead of front-row rival Verstappen into the opening chicane at Monza.
Red Bull racer Verstappen was able to gain DRS to mount several attempted passes into the big braking zone at the end of the main straight, but Sainz defended strongly to hold first place.
That was until lap 15 of a shortened total of 51, when Sainz locked up into Turn 1 to run deep. This delayed exit enabled Verstappen to pull alongside the Ferrari around the outside of Curva Grande before cementing the lead under braking into the second chicane.
This battle, which Sainz reckoned could not “get any tougher”, is what triggered Ferrari to struggle to look after the rear Pirellis, with Perez also moving past for a Red Bull 1-2.
Sainz’s reaction to the race was: “Very tough, very tough. It cannot get any tougher than what it was today.
“Honestly, the whole race pushing very, very hard to keep the Red Bulls behind.
“That obviously made me use the rear tyres a lot, trying to keep up with them and trying to get them behind.
“In the end, I end up paying a bit the price with the rear tyres, but I did everything I could to defend with all the cars that I could.”
Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23
Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images
Sainz, who completed the podium in third, reckoned the improved form for the Scuderia – Ferrari jumped Aston Martin for third in the constructors’ championship as Charles Leclerc finished fourth – proved the team was “best of the rest” in Italy.
“I think we just need to keep working on our pace, on our tyre understanding,” said Sainz.
“Today, it was obvious that we were wearing the tyres a bit more and we were just lacking a bit of pace.
“But it’s definitely a big step forward compared to Zandvoort [when Sainz finished fifth and Leclerc crashed out].
“This weekend, we’ve been best of the rest, which is good result for the team given the circumstances.”
Sainz only pipped team-mate Leclerc by 0.18s at the line after the SF-23 duo enjoyed a frenetic late battle, both locking up frequently to run side-by-side.
On the dice, Sainz said: “It was tough hard racing.
“It’s always been a pleasure to race Charles whenever we’ve had the chance. Today was the same.”