Carlos Sainz said he “would have done the same again” after defying Ferrari team orders during the British Grand Prix.
After the Safety Car incident, Ferrari decided to pit Sainz but not Charles Leclerc before then asking the Spaniard to hold the pack up and give the, now vulnerable, Leclerc some breathing room up front.
Sainz, however, said no, correctly believing that he had both the pace and the strategy to go on and win his maiden race. Leclerc was eventually caught by the pack before being overtaken by them, leaving Sainz battling Sergio Perez and Lewis Hamilton for the win.
The 27-year-old fought off the pair to take the lead before crossing the line and winning the first race of his F1 career.
The team’s calls appeared to have caused a rift in the Ferrari garage with some members reportedly refusing to attend the podium ceremony but Sainz said if he was in the situation again, he would have still defied the order.
“Well Ferrari won, I won, so for sure it was not the wrong decision,” he told Formula1.com. “I think at that time, in the car I knew perfectly what I had to do. I knew not to put Charles in a compromised position, but also to give Ferrari a race win – that is what the team cares the most about and I think everything I did was sensible.
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“I didn’t put Charles under unnecessary risk or pressure while overtaking him, knowing that I was going to overtake him fairly easily on the soft. I won the race for Ferrari and I think it was a good outcome in the end.
“So yes, I would have done it the same again and I think the team perfectly understood my position – that’s why they didn’t call again for the 10 car lengths because they knew that what I had argued during the radio comment was totally valid.”
Ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix, Leclerc said the team members’ absences was due to not wanting to miss a shortly-departing flight rather than any anger and Sainz said that their post-race briefing was “normal.”
“Like always, he behaved like the gentleman that he is and the briefing was normal,” Sainz said.
“The way it goes when I have a bad race is [it’s] a normal briefing and the way it goes when he has a bad race, it’s also a normal briefing. It’s one of the strong points that we have as team mates and as drivers, and as a team spirit that we have in Ferrari.”
“If anything, this win has just given me more hunger to try and do it again as soon as possible, and to keep fighting for those wins.”