Carlos Sainz has revealed that he pushed Ferrari into the two-stop strategy that delivered him an eventual podium finish in Sunday’s United States Grand Prix.

While team-mate Charles Leclerc was beaten off the line by Lando Norris, Sainz edged ahead of Lewis Hamilton with a bold move into the first corner to seize third place.

Sainz admits that his move up the inside of the tight Turn 1 risked wiping out the leading duo, comparing the steering lock he used to that needed at the Lowes hairpin in Monaco.

Yeah, I got him [Hamilton] on the inside I think, but it was tight because if I locked up, I’d take Lando and Charles with me,” he said.

“It’s such a tight angle, I did a bit of a Monaco Lowes turn [with the steering angle] and made it work. It’s always very tight here on the first lap.”

Sainz was swiftly demoted down the order by Hamilton and Max Verstappen but admits that trying to retain pace with the eventual top two led to him destroying his tyres.

The Spaniard explains that prompted him to ask for a two-stop strategy, which enabled him to usurp the one-stopping Leclerc, who had been the quicker of the two Ferraris.

Ferrari’s gamble with Leclerc saw him fall into the clutches of Sainz, with team orders being used to ensure that the latter wasn’t held up amid pressure from Sergio Perez.

I think I was a lot quicker at that stage, so we were going to finish ahead anyway,” Sainz declared. “With Checo behind it was always going to be tough.”

Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Ferrari SF-23. 22.10.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 19, United States Grand Prix, Austin, Texas, USA, Race Day.

Following a challenging Sprint that saw Ferrari slip back, Sainz was “very happy” with the Maranello camp’s pace compared to McLaren and Mercedes in Sunday’s race.

“If you told me yesterday after seeing how much we struggled against the McLarens and Mercedes that we would be fighting them, I would have been quite happy,” he admitted. “Especially with Lando at some point in the first stint was very far ahead we must have had some good, solid pace.

“I think today we just did our race, and we were quite quick so I’m happy with that.”

But having ended up behind Leclerc in qualifying for the third consecutive weekend, Sainz asserts that he wants to rediscover the one-lap edge that took him to successive pole positions in Italy and Singapore.

“Yesterday [in the Sprint], I felt like I did a pretty good job for the Soft tyres so in the race, I’ve been relatively stronger this weekend,” he added regarding tyre management.

“Something to look into in qualifying, the last couple of races my quali has been nothing special but in the race I’m quick. I was quick in Suzuka, quick here.

“Now I need to focus on getting my quali pace back and keep doing a good job in the race because the pace is definitely solid. I was pushing hard out there along with good tyre management.”

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