Vasseur after Sainz’s “fantastic job” in F1 Australian GP: “We agreed together to push until the last lap of the season”

Photo credits: Scuderia Ferrari
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“Life is a rollercoaster.” 

This way chirped on the radio to his race engineer Riccardo Adami, a grinning Carlos Sainz after winning the Australian Grand Prix with a brilliant performance.

A rollercoaster indeed, as only two weeks ago he was forced to sit out of the Saudi Arabian GP and spend Sunday in the hospital for an appendectomy, while this weekend he was ahead of everyone.

The 58 laps around Albert Park are far from a walk in the park, the circuit is quite demanding both in terms of tyre degradation and on weighting on the braking systems of the single seaters, resulting often times in multiple retirements during the race. 

When he arrived in Melbourne Sainz was not sure he would be fit to drive, but ultimately was able to deliver an incredible performance in his SF-24.

Things had started to take a good turn after practices, with the Spaniard taking P2 behind Verstappen in Saturday’s Qualifying and carried out rather smoothly during the race.

As the world champion was beginning to struggle with the brakes of his Red Bull, Sainz took the lead of the race, ultimately finishing ahead of his current teammate Charles Leclerc and former Lando Norris.

Last season he was the only driver – not in a Red Bull – to win a race, making the most of the RB19’s struggles in Singapore, while this time around he extracted a stunning performance from a SF-24 that seemed to have something to say around the Australian circuit.

Certainly a great stage to show his skills in what will be his last season with Ferrari.

“This winter we agreed together to push until the last lap of the season,” commented Team Principal Fred Vasseur after the race. 

“And he did a fantastic job. He was there in Bahrain, pushing the team also and for sure Jeddah was a tough weekend, a tough weekend for Carlos, a tough weekend for the team.”

“But the recovery is mega. You have to keep in mind that two weeks ago he was in the hospital. I think even Friday he was not 100 percent sure to be able to drive.”

When he stepped out of the car he was indeed visibly exhausted physically at the end of a very challenging race, especially coming to Australia with proper training and time on the simulator.

“After a couple of laps, he was on the pace, and this was part of the success, because you can’t give up one lap in free practice if you want to perform,” continued Vasseur

“For sure, it’s amazing. If you have a look on where he’s coming from nobody expected a result like this today.”

Undoubtedly an amazing weekend for Ferrari, who goes home with the first 1-2 of the season, with 2.366s separating Sainz from Leclerc.

Not a significant difference, that was also dictated by the different positions the two drivers started from, explained Vasseur. 

“We are speaking about plus or minus half a tenth and classification is one thing, the pace is another one.”

“I think during the race the issue is that we had to cover Piastri at the beginning, that was not ideal in terms of race time, for sure.”

“We didn’t want to give up the position on track and we put him in a tough situation. But on the last stint, he knew more about the degradation of the hard, and he was able to be very consistent and it was a good one.”