Hungarian GP – Sainz stays at the gates of the podium after setting Ferrari the right strategy

Great Sunday for Carlos Sainz, who has come back from 15th position to fourth after a great comeback based on accidents at the start and a key personal strategic decision.

When Charles Leclerc was out of the race at the first change after being rammed by Lance Stroll, the weight of Ferrari it was left in the hands of Carlos Sainz, who had climbed meteorically from 15th position to fourth.

The Spanish rider knew how to stay out of trouble on the rugged first corner and subsequently managed to untangle a strategic problem when, after the red flag and a new start, got stuck on a train formed after Nicholas Latifi and Yuki Tsunoda.

“We have shown that today we had the rhythm to try to fight for victory”

This cost him the podium in the end, because while Esteban Ocon and Sebastian Vettel escaped, the slow pace of Williams’ Canadian progressively ruined the options of Sainz, Alonso and the rest of the drivers who were in that situation.

When it was time for the stops, several teams opted to stop a little earlier to try to get rid of Latifi and Tsunoda with new tires and Ferrari called for Carlos Sainz into the pits, but the Spaniard knew how to read the race better and offered another alternative: to stay on the track and take advantage of the stop of the Canadian and the Japanese to roll at a devilish pace with clean air.

So it was, and when Sainz pitted on lap 32 to fit the new hard tires, he returned to the track in virtual third position and with Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton as direct rivals.

Hamilton, unstoppable

But the British of Mercedes He moved the chip and stopped for the second time in the pits, which allowed him to regain ground at a pace of three seconds per lap, passing first to Alpine after an epic 10-lap duel, and then to Carlos Sainz, who lost the podium.

«I don’t really know what happened. After such a good outing, having lost the position with Latifi and Tsunoda in the pit-lane has conditioned us the whole race »Sainz lamented when remembering the first stop to put dry tires. «Then we played well, overcutting them. There we have shown that today we had the rhythm to try to fight for victory ».

“Hamilton came like a plane, I had to throw a lot at the beginning of the stint on the hard one, I had to do 15 full laps and I couldn’t save the tire. This made us very vulnerable at the end, when he was without a tire and he had a very fresh one, ”explained Sainz in relation to his decline in the final part.

An overtaking that was not helped by Daniel Ricciardo, who did not facilitate his dubbing at a crucial moment for Sainz. “I don’t know what happened to the McLaren, in the last corner it could have been removed a lot earlier. I don’t know if they were playing in the constructors’ championship or not. but the fact is that it could have finished on the podium, but after starting on the 15th we have to be happy ».

Personality and confidence

One of the key moments has been when Sainz has taken command of the strategy, something that he saw very clearly from inside the car. «I saw very clearly that doing the undercut to Tsunoda we would not do it to Latifi and I was going to stay the whole race behind him. Therefore, I think it has been a good communication and we have done the right thing in the end and we have managed to move forward, thank goodness.

However, worn tires and low gasoline have also prevented Sainz from challenging Hamilton. “I was out of gas. Between how bad my wheels were and the gasoline I was saving, I knew that if Fernando could not stand him, for me it would be even more complicated. I have tried everything, I think it would have happened to us in the end, but I think the McLaren has not helped.

Now comes the summer break and Formula 1 will not return until the end of the month. Sainz looks forward to the return of the races. “Looking forward to the second half, because if we have shown one thing is that there is a rhythm, but this weekend has been a bit like the first half: things always happen that do not allow us to do a full weekend. I think that in the second half we will improve and that is where there is the most potential ».

With this fourth place, Carlos Sainz is close to Charles Leclerc (80) and Ferrari is close to only three of McLaren in the constructors’ championship.

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