Carlos Sainz says Ferrari will make Red Bull’s life “as complicated as possible” in the Italian Grand Prix after securing pole position for his team’s home race.
Ferrari has looked quick all weekend and Sainz capitalized with the fourth pole position of his career, edging out Max Verstappen by just 0.013s while Charles Leclerc secured third. Having said Ferrari fans could “dream” after setting the pace on Friday, Sainz says it’s not out of the question he can make it tough for Red Bull over a race distance given his starting position, even if he still calls Verstappen the favorite.
“We’ve got the motivation and the energy to do it,” Sainz said. “The car has been very good all weekend, especially over one lap. What we have seen from the long runs, I’m not going to lie — it’s trickier and not the same picture as qualifying. Red Bull, as soon as you put five or six laps on the tire and everything starts to degrade a bit, that’s where their strength is, and the race pace we have seen all year. But hopefully I can get a better start and then make Max’s and Checo’s (Perez) and Charles’ life as difficult as possible.
“We are willing to work through it as a team and give it our best shot. It’s a good opportunity tomorrow; realistically the Red Bull should be quicker, but we are just going to try to make their life as complicated as possible and try to take the win.
“I think it can happen — nothing is impossible tomorrow, especially starting from P1. At the start I am going to do everything I can to stay ahead of Max and I think that looking back at this year, 100 percent of races they have been quicker, and clearly quicker, so that makes me feel like it is not going to be easy at all.
“They are going to try to find a way past one way or another, but if something could happen we would have a very good day tomorrow and get the win. So I’m just going to try and go into tomorrow with the mindset to win the race and then adapt to the circumstances and race pace of Verstappen.”
Saturday’s qualifying led to Sainz’s first pole position in Italy and the Spaniard feels he delivered one of his finest performances to secure an extremely popular result in front of the Tifosi.
“It’s difficult to put into words, to describe the feeling. It’s just amazing, the whole weekend since we arrived here on Wednesday — the support and the feeling with the crowd, the energy they put into us, it’s incredible. I had my birthday yesterday, so that gave me a good feeling and good vibes.
“I was very comfortable with the car and I put together one of my best laps in Q3 to set pole. Tight with these two (Verstappen and Leclerc), like it used to be last year, I enjoyed it a lot, that lap.”
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— Formula 1 (@F1) September 2, 2023