Sainz credits slowing down rivals for ‘incredible’ win

Carlos Sainz says his approach of slowing down the cars behind to prevent them being able to get a strategic advantage over him “worked to perfection” as he won the Singapore Grand Prix.

Mercedes saved two sets of mediums tires for its drivers to open up pit stop options in case of safety car interruptions at Marina Bay, but Sainz bunched up the field to prevent gaps opening up to pit into. In the end, George Russell and Lewis Hamilton took the opportunity to make a second stop during a Virtual Safety Car but Sainz kept Lando Norris between himself and the charging Mercedes pair to hold on in a tense finish.

“An incredible feeling, and an incredible weekend,” Sainz said. “I want to thank everyone in Ferrari for making this huge effort to turnaround and manage to win this season after a tricky beginning. But now we nailed a weekend, we nailed the race, we did everything we had to do, we did it perfect and we brought home a P1 that I’m sure all of Italy, all Ferrari’s going to be happy today.


“Given our limitations with tire wear and degradation, it was all about managing the beginning of the stints to make sure I made it to the target lap that we wanted to do on each compound. Obviously a safety car forced us to pit even earlier than we wanted, and I knew it was going to be a long stint on hard.

“George, I had to keep him slowing down to make sure I didn’t give him a safety car or a medium tire opportunity, and it worked to perfection. It was just quite tight at the end, but we gave Lando a bit of DRS to help him and then in the end, we made it (to) P1.”

While he jokes it was to help Norris, the DRS train created an added layer of protection for Sainz that he says showed how he had the capacity to think about the best way to win the race.

“I felt under control, to be honest. I always felt like I had the headspace and the pace in hand to do whatever I wanted to do,” Sainz said. “I’m not gonna lie — you’re under pressure and you obviously are very close to making any kind of mistake, but I felt under control. I felt like I could manage well, and we brought it home. That was the best feeling, you know. I am over the moon right now.”

Story originally appeared on Racer