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Sainz: Singapore F1 win proves Ferrari can deliver under pressure

Carlos Sainz believes his win in Formula 1's Singapore Grand Prix shows Ferrari can deliver under pressure as he took the only non-Red Bull victory of the 2023 season.

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari

Photo by: Ferrari

On an off-kilter weekend for the otherwise dominant Red Bull squad, Sainz and Ferrari capitalised by nailing every session, resulting in a key pole position on the twisty street layout, less than a tenth ahead of Mercedes' George Russell and team-mate Charles Leclerc.
He then converted that into a win with a cool and shrewd race, first lowering the pace to prevent drivers behind from attempting an undercut into traffic. In the closing stages Sainz then deliberately allowed the chasing McLaren of Lando Norris to close and use DRS to keep the faster Russell behind.
The perfectly executed race weekend by Ferrari was a blueprint on how to maximise its chances, and looking back on his season Sainz believes that weekend shows the team has what it takes to deliver under pressure.
"100%. It has to affect the year because it's not like we had many chances of winning a race this year," Sainz replied when Autosport asked him if the Singapore result changed his outlook on a challenging year for Ferrari.
"The fact that we took it and we didn't waste one single opportunity there and we maximise FP1, FP2, FP3, quali, Q1, Q2, Q3 and the race was, I think, a huge accomplishment. Not only for me but also for the team, to prove that when the opportunity arrives next year we are able to win.
"We were under pressure that weekend because it meant that it was our only weekend maybe to fight for a win in combination maybe with Vegas. But this we didn't know at the time. The fact that we maximised it, we performed, we didn't fail under pressure and we put together that weekend, I think is a great showing that next year we're capable of doing things if we get a good car."
Carlos Sainz, Ferrari, Lando Norris, McLaren

Photo by: Ferrari

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari, Lando Norris, McLaren

One of incoming team boss Fred Vasseur's main challenges was to improve how the team operates and gets the most out of the package it has on a given weekend. Sainz felt the team had made steps in that area, even if it was compromised by "unbelievable" performance swings.
"It feels exactly that way also on the inside," the Spaniard said when put to him that Ferrari, which finished third in the championship, appears stronger on an operational level.
"I think we acknowledge the package we have and now we just put it on track and we try to maximise it every weekend. And I think we are doing a much better job of that.
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"It's not easy because it's mentally challenging to understand how in Las Vegas you can out-qualify the Red Bull by three-tenths and fight for the win and then go to Brazil and be a second off the race pace. It's almost unbelievable that these swings in performance can happen.
"Now we need to focus on making sure we have more Vegases than Singapores next year."

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