Carlos Sainz says he did not feel like a “first-year driver” in his Ferrari in Mexico and now feels more comfortable behind the wheel of his car.
The Ferrari driver enjoyed a strong weekend in Mexico and remains in a tight battle with his team-mate Charles Leclerc in the Drivers’ Championship for which of them comes out on top within the Scuderia this season.
The Spaniard said his speed in Mexico proved he is continuing to make progress with the team and that he now feels more comfortable.
“I would say I had 100 per cent feeling [with the car] for the first time since Austria [in July] or maybe another race that now I cannot remember,” said Sainz, quoted by GPFans.
“I wouldn’t say I felt like a first-year driver in the car. I feel like I knew what the car was doing and I knew how to drive it perfectly.
“We’ve gone to other tracks and other situations where I have felt a bit rusty still, or a bit inexperienced.
“But to be honest, I felt completely at home and knew exactly what to do and how to drive it with the tyres etc. The pace showed it.”
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Sainz was the beneficiary of team orders in Mexico, where his speed compared to Leclerc in front prompted the team to allow the Spaniard through to try and chase down Pierre Gasly.
Sainz admitted he had probably lost too much time behind Leclerc before getting past, which meant he was unable to catch the AlphaTauri in P4, and he allowed Leclerc back past him come the end of the race.
Moments like that can prove to be awkward between team-mates, but the Spaniard knows it is all part of the sport.
“I don’t know if I need to prove it again,” said Sainz. “I have proved it my whole career and I am comfortable with it.
“My experience in Formula 1 tells me, in a whole season, there will be two or three examples when team orders don’t favour you, but there are always two or three examples when team orders do favour you.
“Obviously there are scenarios where the competitive side kicks in and it’s difficult to play that role. But my experience in Formula 1 tells me that in a full year, it ends up compensating you in one way or the other.
“You have to be calm mentally in those situations to accept whatever is happening and play the team role. Mexico proved it and there were other races, I think Austria, where it favoured me.”
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