Mattia Binotto has likened Carlos Sainz’s arrival to Ferrari as a breath of “fresh air” following the departure of Sebastian Vettel.
The Spaniard has replaced the four-time World Champion on an initial two-year contract and began life as a Ferrari driver with a P8 finish at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
During the season-opening race weekend, team boss Binotto had already indirectly criticised Sainz’s predecessor, Vettel, by saying it was nice to be able to “count on both drivers” again and more praise has come Sainz’s way following Vettel’s exit.
“We knew that he was a strong driver, he would be fast, fast as well on the long stints,” Binotto told Sky F1.
“Bringing some experience because now, even if he’s very young, he’s an experienced driver in F1.
“But I think it’s going very well with Charles, going very well with his team, he has integrated well, [there is] a very positive mood.
“And I think it’s fresh air and sometimes fresh air is required, is what we are looking for. And in that respect [we’re] very happy.”
Solid race. Didn’t take many risks at the start as it was crucial to finish the race and build experience with the car.After some laps I got confidence and we displayed a very strong pace. Encouraging start and fun overtakes. We keep pushing to improve!
— Carlos Sainz (@Carlossainz55) March 28, 2021
Sainz revealed after his first race in Ferrari colours that he was cautious in his approach and will be working towards being more aggressive as the season progresses.
“I had a poor start,” Sainz said.
“Basically due to a couple of mistakes, but also me consistently taking it, maybe, a bit too easy in Lap 1, just wanting to make sure I made it through that Lap 1 and making sure that I was getting to know the car in dirty air conditions.
“It [was] a completely new experience, completely new car, so I wanted to take it easy and wanted to make sure I did the whole race.
“Then once I got myself into clean air, honestly, I was very quick, so I’m not going to complain, I’m going to take it and take it as a learning curve and keep improving. It will come.
“Especially because it was a conscious approach, if I was lost in Lap 1 because I don’t feel the car, then it’s something to worry about, but I’ve always been super good in the starts with the McLaren and here, I’m still wanting to get to know the car in dirty air before I started attacking like I was in the McLaren, so it was kind of a conscious approach, and I will get on top of it soon.”