Carlos Sainz has credited a meeting with his Ferrari engineers during the summer break for the turnaround in 2023 that culminated with him winning the Singapore Grand Prix.

Sainz admitted ahead of last weekend’s race that he had been “at one” with Ferrari’s SF-23 car throughout the entire season but says only recently had the results reflected that.

The Spaniard entered the break as the only driver inside the top seven places in the standings without a podium finish, with team-mate Charles Leclerc scoring three.

However, after hauling his Ferrari to fifth place at Zandvoort on a weekend where the Italian side struggled, Sainz notched his first pole position and podium of 2023 at Monza.

With Red Bull not in contention for the first time this year, Sainz took advantage to soar to another pole, this time converting it with a measured drive at the Marina Bay Circuit.

Having had the upper hand on his team-mate since the season resumed, Sainz reveals that a sit down with his engineers was the key to extracting his pace on a regular basis by stringing together consistent weekends.

“I think in terms of car and driving understanding, I think before the summer break there was this already decent feeling with everything,” he explained.

“I just sat down with my engineers in the summer break and we said okay, what can we do to start putting the whole weekend together, because clearly we have a lot of pace, we were doing some good things but we are never putting the whole thing together, so let’s see what we can do to improve that and start having consistent performances in the second half, because the potential is clearly there this year.

“And yeah, Zandvoort was a very good weekend, Monza was almost perfect and here I feel like it was the perfect one.

“Makes me very happy and proud that when you work, you analyse, and you also have the speed like I’ve had this weekend. It is it is always paying off and now we managed to put everything together and, yeah, very happy for the engineers, for the mechanics, the team, everyone.”

Race winner Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Ferrari SF-23 in parc ferme. 17.09.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 16, Singapore Grand Prix, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Race Day

Despite Ferrari being competitive across two varying circuit configurations, Sainz is cautious about the Scuderia’s chances of repeating its recent success in Japan.

“Honestly, I don’t think it [the Singapore win] means much, I think this year, it’s going to be a bit like this [inconsistent],” he said. “We’ve had two great weekends in a row, but I think the two tracks that we’ve been to have suited our car. In particularly this one, a high downforce track.”

Nevertheless, the two-time race winner has heaped praise on his Ferrari team for swiftly rectifying the troubles it encountered at Zandvoort to be in a position to seize the victory in Singapore when Red Bull fumbled.

Sainz, though, has challenged the Maranello-based camp to ensure it continues to extract the maximum result possible each weekend, regardless of the car’s competitiveness.

“I’m incredibly proud of the effort that the team has done to bring a much better high downforce package here and be much more competitive than in Zandvoort – but I still think there’s going to be tough weekends out there where we’re not going to be fighting for podiums, and we’re going to get P5s, P6,” he cautioned.

“We just need to make sure we keep getting those if that’s the maximum that the team and the car can do those weekends.

“But what I’m more proud of is that we had one chance to win this year, and the team under pressure responded. I also responded and we managed to put together a perfect weekend in the one chance that the Red Bull and the situation gave us, and the speaks well of the progress that Ferrari is doing, we are doing in terms of race execution.”

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