Sainz: "Strange" Sochi circuit could hold back Mercedes and Red Bull

Carlos Sainz thinks it's not a given that Formula 1 title contenders Mercedes and Red Bull will swiftly push through to the front of the Russian Grand Prix.

Sainz: "Strange" Sochi circuit could hold back Mercedes and Red Bull

The Ferrari driver is starting from the front row of the grid alongside Lando Norris after making the most of a switch to slick tyres in the final stages of Q3 on Saturday.

And while there is little doubt that the Mercedes and Red Bull starting behind are clearly ahead in overall race pace terms, the nature of the Sochi circuit could make it difficult for them to exploit their speed if they get trapped behind other cars.

That has given Sainz some hope that if he and Norris can break free at the front then they may be able to do something to hold on until the end.

"It's a strange circuit this one – because obviously race pace is important and we need to see how easy it is to overtake," explained the Spaniard. "Normally in the past it has been quite tricky.

"Obviously we have the two Mercs [Bottas has now taken a grid penalty] and the Red Bull that are going to be pushing us a lot.

"They are clearly, around here, half a second to one second quicker than us – so at some point they will put pressure on us and we will need to see if we can keep ourselves ahead.

"Obviously the target is to finish ahead of them, try to get Lando at the start – although I am starting on the dirty side, he is at least starting on the clean side - and see from there if we can race hard and have some fun at the front."

Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari, in the post Qualifying Press Conference

Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari, in the post Qualifying Press Conference

Photo by: FIA Pool

While second place on the grid has often been the best place to start the Russian Grand Prix from, because of the slipstream benefit down to Turn 2, Sainz thinks a good getaway for him will not be so easy.

As well as the negative of starting on the dirty side of the track, Sainz is well aware that Ferrari does not have the best straightline speed compared to the McLaren and Williams cars around him.

Speaking about the chances of getting ahead of Norris after the start, Sainz said: "I think there's two options.

Read Also:

"I either get a good getaway and it's a direct race into Turn 2, or, if not, obviously I'll need to try to find a slipstream, because we know we are not the fastest on the straights and we need to find some tow, some draft, because if not, it's going to be a long run down from Turn 1.

"But it's exciting. I've been sharing rows with this guy [Norris] pretty much the last two years in Formula 1, so we know very well each other.

"Hopefully we can have a good start, both, and keep pulling away because there's going to be the guys behind coming, and that's going to be when the fun starts."

shares
comments

Related video

Engine necessity or spoiler tactic? What's behind Bottas' grid drop
Previous article

Engine necessity or spoiler tactic? What's behind Bottas' grid drop

Next article

Archive: How unflappable rookie Raikkonen took F1 by storm

Archive: How unflappable rookie Raikkonen took F1 by storm
Load comments
The six F1 subplots to watch in 2022 as a new era begins Plus

The six F1 subplots to watch in 2022 as a new era begins

As Formula 1 prepares to begin a new era of technical regulations in 2022, Autosport picks out six other key elements to follow this season

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2022
Why newly-retired Raikkonen won't miss F1 Plus

Why newly-retired Raikkonen won't miss F1

After 349 grand prix starts, 46 fastest laps, 21 wins and one world championship, Kimi Raikkonen has finally called time on his F1 career. In an exclusive interview with Autosport on the eve of his final race, he explains his loathing of paddock politics and reflects on how motorsport has changed over the past two decades

Formula 1
Jan 23, 2022
Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shakeup Plus

Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shakeup

Formula 1 cars will look very different this year as the long-awaited fresh rules finally arrive with the stated aim of improving its quality of racing. Autosport breaks down what the return of 'ground effect' aerodynamics - and a flurry of other changes besides - means for the teams, and what fans can expect

Formula 1
Jan 21, 2022
Why new era F1 is still dogged by its old world problems Plus

Why new era F1 is still dogged by its old world problems

OPINION: The 2022 Formula 1 season is just weeks away from getting underway. But instead of focusing on what is to come, the attention still remains on what has been – not least the Abu Dhabi title decider controversy. That, plus other key talking points, must be resolved to allow the series to warmly welcome in its new era

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2022
The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022 Plus

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022

Mick Schumacher’s knack of improving during his second season in a championship was a trademark of his junior formula career, so his progress during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Haas was encouraging. His target now will be to turn that improvement into results as the team hopes to reap the rewards of sacrificing development in 2021

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2022
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Plus

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. JAMES NEWBOLD hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwarts

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022
When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Plus

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022
How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner Plus

How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner

Brabham’s first world championship race-winning car was held back by unreliable Climax engines – or so its creators believed, as STUART CODLING explains

Formula 1
Jan 10, 2022