Sainz: Keeping up with a Red Bull a ‘pleasant surprise’ in Bahrain


Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz expressed a mix of surprise and cautious optimism after securing a podium finish in the 2024 Bahrain Grand Prix.

While the Red Bull’s Max Verstappen dominated Saturday’s opening round in Sakhir, Sainz - who managed to progress from P5 into the top three after ten laps - was able to stay within striking distance of runner-up Sergio Perez in the second half of the race despite running on a theoretically slower set of hard C3 tyres.

Furthermore, on his way to third, the Spaniard was also forced to contend with a misaligned steering on his Ferrari due to a contact with Perez at Turn 1.

Despite these hurdles, Sainz concluded his race just 2.6 seconds off Perez at the end of the 57-lap event, a result he labeled as “a pleasant surprise”.

“I felt really good out there today,” the Scuderia charger said.

“The start wasn't ideal but from then on, I just managed my tyres well and then from there, I could do my pace, overtook two or three cars on the way to the podium and then keeping up with a Red Bull there at the end, which was a pleasant surprise.

“Still, not enough. Not where we want to be. But a good step forward compared to last year and a solid start to the season.”

Perez reckoned that Sainz’s efforts had been somewhat facilitated by tyre wear and an engine braking issue on his Red Bull. The Spaniard on the other hand had no complaints to formulate over his harder rubber, being able to maintain consistent temperatures throughout.

“We had a very clear plan using [the] soft [compound] and then two hards,” he explained.

“With the hard in our car, we feel a bit more comfortable because it overheats less, it degrades less. It is a bit of a trickier tyre with warm up and with front locking. But then once we get it working in our car, you can push on it.

“In the Red Bull, you can see different traits, different strategy choices, but I think also that's the beauty of F1. We could play around a bit with strategy today.”

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