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Formula 1 Monaco GP

Sainz explains aggressive mindset behind Monaco F1 strategy anger

Carlos Sainz says having a more aggressive strategy mindset compared to his Ferrari Formula 1 team was behind his angry radio outburst in the Monaco Grand Prix.

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23, leaves his pit box after a stop

During a dry first stint of a mixed-weather Monaco race, Sainz was wedged in between third-placed Esteban Ocon and Lewis Hamilton when the latter was called into the pits by Mercedes on lap 33.

Ferrari opted to respond by bringing Sainz in on the next lap to avoid an undercut by Hamilton.

But in doing so, it also gave up the possibility of challenging Ocon for third, which would have been Sainz's first podium of a tough 2023 season.

That caused an angry response from Sainz, who at the time thought Ferrari's call was "weak" as he was more interested in going for a podium than conserving fourth.

Soon after the race, Sainz apologised for his outburst and ahead of this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix he explained his thinking at the time.

When asked by Autosport if his disagreement with the team was down to the Spaniard having a more aggressive mindset than his squad, he said: "I think it's a fair assessment.

"I think I was honestly quite vocal about wanting to go and get that podium and maybe risking on staying on the hard.

"But I also fully understand the team perspective. We are fighting for the team championship with Mercedes, there's Lewis behind who just did a very quick out-lap on the hards and we have to protect from him and over the position.

"At that space in time, when I left the pits behind Esteban, I was quite frustrated about that."

Carlos Sainz, Scuderia Ferrari, in the Thursday press conference

Carlos Sainz, Scuderia Ferrari, in the Thursday press conference

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Sainz added that while he was angry at seeing Ocon stay ahead to take a shock podium for Alpine, he soon understood the team's position in the debrief.

"Once they explain it to you and they explain the rationale and the reasons they did it, I perfectly understand it. It's just that I probably wasn't at the time in the same mindset.

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"I was just focusing a lot more on extending the hard trying maybe to catch the rain, trying to catch a safety car, trying to catch anything that would allow me to finish on that podium and in the end we will never know."

Ferrari made several changes to its strategy team over the off-season after a string of errors in 2022, which included chief strategist Inaki Rueda moving to a Maranello-based role.

When asked if he had seen any improvement in the strategy department, Sainz said it was still a work in progress, but felt the team's relatively poor race pace has played a much bigger role in he and team-mate Charles Leclerc sliding backwards during races.

"I would say that department is in constant progress and we're doing I think a lot of progress, it just hasn't been an easy year for us," he explained.

"When you spend the whole year starting further up on the grid from where your normal race pace is, which has been a bit worse than our qualifying pace, then there's always going to be doubts and criticism about our race execution, because you're always going backwards.

"That makes these first six races have been more difficult to assess and judge. I do feel the team is doing everything it can to be as strong as possible on that department. But as with everything, there's margin of improvement and we're doing it."

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