Vasseur “more than pleased” with Sainz’s performance step during F1 Italian GP weekend

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After Fred Vasseur’s assurance that talks regarding Carlos Sainz’s future at Ferrari would soon follow, the team principal said the Spaniard took a step forward with his pole and podium finish at Monza. As mentioned by the Ferrari boss, Sainz was immediately on the pace from FP1, clearly outpacing teammate Charles Leclerc in practice and qualifying.

The Spaniard’s performance was not only his best result of the season, but also his best performance of the year, with Sainz’s first podium finish helping Ferrari move into third place in the constructors’ championship, now ahead of Aston Martin by 11 points.

The Frenchman was delighted with the performance from the driver of car number 55 on the grid and that it was the first time the Ferraris were able to compete with Red Bull:

“It’s the first time that we are able to fight with Red Bull, but the Red Bull pace was better than us for sure. But we were able to stay to match [them] for a good part of the race. And for sure it was the best weekend overall.

“I’m more than pleased also for Carlos because I think he did a step forward. Not necessarily in the quali and the race, but I would say also into the preparation of the weekend and from lap one of FP1 he was there. And it’s a good lesson also for the rest of the season.”

Photo: Scuderia Ferrari

For his part, the 29-year-old commented that the team’s development since the Dutch GP had been great, as he had finished fifth on the grid: (The Italian Grand Prix) was definitely a big step forward compared to Zandvoort, where he had finished fifth from sixth on the grid a week earlier. “This weekend we’ve been best of the rest, which is a good result for the team given the circumstances.”

The Madrid-born star described his performance at “The Temple of Speed” as one of the best of his career and added that he finally felt at ease with the car. However, Sainz also said that the Maranello-based team must continue to work on understanding the tyres and the pace of the SF-23: “I’ve done other strong weekends in F1 that maybe got a bit unnoticed when I was in the midfield where I felt I extracted everything out of the car. Of this year, for sure, of my Ferrari career probably [it’s the best].

“Of my F1 career, it’s a tough call but I felt like this weekend I was on it from the beginning, comfortable with the car, especially over one lap. I felt really, really at home.

“I could put together strong laps [on Saturday] and snatch pole but [the race] was again a bit tougher and it shows me exactly where we need to keep working on. I will put my head down and keep pushing the team to keep working on our tyre understanding and our race pace understanding.”

At the end of the race, the Spaniard and Leclerc had an extraordinary fight competing for the podium, however, Sainz won out. He’s now ahead of the Monegasque by 6 points in the drivers’ championship.