On a day when McLaren – Ferrari’s rivals for P3 in the constructors’ championship – took a stunning one-two at Monza, Carlos Sainz said “weaknesses” in the SF21 car prevented the Scuderia from mounting their own bid for victory on home soil.
Sainz – who took a podium in last year’s Italian GP with McLaren – finished sixth in the F1 Sprint and therefore started sixth on Sunday but failed to make headway, even after Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen crashed out, and finished P6.
READ MORE: The Hamilton-Verstappen crash changed the face of the Italian GP – but would Ricciardo have won regardless?
“We were always there, very close to the opportunity, but we never quite had the pace and the tools to be honest, to get in the fight,” began Sainz. “We have certain weaknesses with the car that we know, with this circuit, are too big.
“And whenever we were in a fight, it was very difficult to keep the others behind or attack them. It’s a shame, because you always see a podium there very close to you – but never really got the chance to fight for it.
2021 Italian Grand Prix: Sergio Pérez and Carlos Sainz battle for position around Monza
While team mate Charles Leclerc was elated with what he called one of his “top five performances in Formula 1”, the Monegasque also said that Ferrari were “vulnerable” at Monza. Sainz shone some light on that when he was asked whether he found some confidence with the Ferrari SF21 over the weekend.
He replied: “Not really. The only point where I was more or less confident was qualifying, where the high rear grip of the soft tyre was helping me to understand the car a bit better, but unfortunately, in race runs, I just was sliding a lot; the rear never quite had the top speed; and in the end I was struggling with tyre deg.
READ MORE: Verstappen handed three-place grid drop for Sochi after crash with Hamilton at Monza
“Yes, very tricky to be honest, it’s been a difficult weekend for me and now I need to analyse what I can do better and see if we can improve for next race,” added Sainz.
Sainz still has reasons to smile, with P6 in Italy extending his run of points scores to seven races in a row, while he has scored in every round bar Portugal and France and brought his Ferrari home intact in every Grand Prix this season so far. Russia is the next stop in this rollercoaster season.