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Formula 1 Bahrain GP

Sainz relieved to have Ferrari F1 car he can "attack" with

Carlos Sainz says it is a "relief" to have a Ferrari Formula 1 car that he can "attack" with following its 2023 race pace struggles.

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari
Sainz took the final step on the podium in Bahrain far behind the dominant Max Verstappen, but only two seconds in arrears of the second Red Bull of Sergio Perez.
Sainz's 25-second deficit to Verstappen was half the gap of the same race 12 months ago when Ferrari's tyre management issues and inconsistent handling first came to the surface.
The SF-23's poor race pace relative to its much more competitive one-lap performance became a theme throughout the season, particularly on the more demanding circuits.
Sainz felt it was a "relief" that its successor, the SF-24, is a car he can finally be aggressive with.
"It's a bit of a relief because the last race where I was attacking was Austria and we're talking about 13, 14 races ago," Sainz said.
"And then the rest of the races last year you just had to manage, look in the mirrors, control your pace. And there were very little opportunities to go and overtake people.
"I love going racing, and I love going overtaking, being aggressive, attacking. And with last year's car, it was simply impossible to do that.
Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-24, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-24, battle among sparks

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-24, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-24, battle among sparks

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

"I remember at the car launch saying this year I wish we had a car to go racing and attack people and don't care too much about the tyres. And it's exactly what we got.
"I got an attacking race, a really good race pace and from there everything felt really good to finish P3. I enjoyed it a lot."
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While Bahrain confirmed expectations that Verstappen and Red Bull will march unopposed to another title this year, Sainz's pace suggested that there is scope for a bigger battle at certain races, with Bahrain's Sakhir circuit a particularly strong track for Red Bull.
"The advantage of Red Bull in Bahrain is what you saw very, very clearly," Sainz thought. 
"I think it's interesting how they can keep the C3 soft tyre alive for a bit longer than the rest, how they tend to overheat a bit less.
"Maybe that's what makes the car also not as competitive in qualifying and so good in the race in a track like Bahrain.
"Now we need more samples, but I expect Red Bull always to be better in the race like they were last year.
Podium: Carlos Sainz, Ferrari

Podium: Carlos Sainz, Ferrari

Photo by: Erik Junius

"Look at the last eight races between Charles and me. We managed to do some pole positions, a lot of front rows but then Max in the race was pulling away massively and Checo was always able to overtake us."
"I hope that this year's trait is not as exaggerated and we've made a good step forward in that sense."

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