Just five races into his tenure at Maranello, Carlos Sainz has clinched his first podium success for Ferrari with second place in the 2021 Monaco Grand Prix, equalling his previous best race result with McLaren in Italy last year.
But despite the breakthrough success for the 26-year-old Spanish driver, he admitted that the moment had been soured by the circumstances in which they had come about.
Sainz' team mate Charles Leclerc had clinched pole position for the race on Saturday, but never made it to the grid after a driveshaft issue resulting from his accident in qualifying ruled him out of the start, promoting Sainz to third.
"If you would have told me before coming to Monaco that I would finish second, I would have definitely taken it," Sainz told the media in parc ferme immediately after the end of the race.
"But then after the pace on Thursday, I genuinely thought we could win because I was so confident with the car and I was so fast today, and on Saturday morning and through qualifying
"It is a good result, it's just the whole circumstances of the weekend," he continued. "Having Charles on pole, me missing out in quali yesterday on a good lap, that it just maybe doesn't taste as good as it should.
"The bittersweet feeling is still there because I had the pace to put it on pole or at least to win this weekend and the fact that in the end we didn’t quite manage, is not great.
"When you see the other car, not starting from pole, all of a sudden the responsibility obviously relies on you trying to salvage the weekend.
"One car is out starting from pole, and you want to give the team at least a podium," he explained. "Of course I feel for Charles, I feel for the team that didn’t manage to start today from pole.
"Then it was all about getting the start right, and around the pitstops there was a lot of traffic and we were lapping the cars very quickly."
Sainz also gained from problems at Mercedes when Valtteri Bottas' pit stop when catastrophically wrong, forcing the Finn to retire on lap 31.
"Obviously Valtteri had the pit stop," he acknowledged. "But even without that I was feeling really good with the car today. I felt like the team at least deserved a podium this weekend.
"I'm sure that when I reflect back on the weekend, I will be very happy and proud of the weekend," he added. "Ferrari as a team should be proud about the car, and the step they have made this year.
"It’s a strange day, but from a personal level I have to be happy with P2 because it’s the maximum that we could have achieved today.”
Today's result means that Sainz is now in seventh place in the drivers standings, just two points behind Leclerc. Ferrari has cut its deficit to McLaren in the constructors championship to just two points in the battle over third place.