Carlos Sainz admits he was nervous knowing his first win was within reach during a late safety car, before taking victory in the British Grand Prix.
The Spaniard started from pole position and, after the race was red-flagged for a massive crash for Guanyu Zhou, he retained the lead on the second restart. Dropping behind Max Verstappen, Sainz had regained the lead but then couldn’t match Charles Leclerc’s pace and had yielded to his teammate before a late safety car allowed him to take on fresh tires and pass Leclerc to win.
“I don’t know what to say; it’s amazing,” Sainz said. “My first win, 150 races later, with Ferrari, in Silvers tone — I cannot ask for more. It’s a very special day; a day that I will never forget; a very special weekend in general. Thank you everyone for the support, for the cheers. Lewis was on it today, I heard. It was one of his days, but we managed to hold on and I’m incredibly happy.
“It was not easy. I struggled quite a bit with the balance, especially in the first stint with the medium tire. Max was forcing us to push through the high-speed. I opened the front left , but even with all that, I stayed believing that it could still happen.
“I needed to stay in the race, like I was trying to, and then all of a sudden the safety car gave me the opportunity to get back on it, and we did it. You can imagine the nerves on that safety car re-start knowing it was my chance and getting it done and then the win.”
Sainz says he was calm even when told to give up position to Leclerc during the middle stint because he felt the race might still come back towards him.
“Obviously, during the race I was telling myself, even if I was struggling and suffering a bit, to keep myself in the race and keep myself as close as possible to the car in front and to Charles. I suddenly had to start managing a lot of fuel and then Lewis started to catch me a lot quicker because I was lifting and coasting , in this track, makes you lose a lot of time.
“Suddenly, when the safety car came out, I knew it was my chance. I mean, I was the first one on the soft tires, behind Charles that on the hard — that had a quite a lot of warm-up in the weekend, like we saw.
“I knew I was going to pass him, 100 percent, but I just wanted to do it as cleanly as possible and without affecting his race as much as possible, because we wanted a one-two and I knew that as soon as his hard tires were coming into temperature, he might actually hold on to it. I tried to overtake as clean as possible, but knowing that it was my chance and that it was there for me to get it.”
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