Sainz doesn’t understand ‘media surprise’ over Gasly

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Carlos Sainz, Pierre Gasly and Charles Leclerc talking. March Bahrain 2021

Carlos Sainz, Pierre Gasly and Charles Leclerc talking. March Bahrain 2021

Carlos Sainz feels the media is always surprised by Pierre Gasly’s strong performances and doesn’t understand why. 

For the second race weekend in a row, the AlphaTauri driver finished as the best of the best in qualifying, being the only man outside of the top two teams to go faster than Sainz.

In both Mexico and Brazil, him taking P5 was widely seen as something of a shock with most expecting Ferrari to be the strongest midfield team at both circuits.

Speaking to the media after qualifying at Interlagos, Sainz stated he didn’t understand why they never expected the Frenchman’s performances, saying the Ferrari simulations often have AlphaTauri faster than them.

“For you yes, for us no,” he told Sky Italia when asked if he was surprised by the result.

“I don’t get why in the media it seems like Alpha Tauri are always a surprise for us, they’re always half a tenth ahead in all our simulations.

“When Pierre manages to do some good laps, which he often does, he’s very difficult to beat. Especially in Brazil where already in 2019, when they didn’t have such a strong car, they went very well.”

While Sainz couldn’t get ahead of Gasly, he did out-qualify team-mate Charles Leclerc for the second race weekend in a row with the Monegasque going just over a tenth slower than him to take P7.

The Spaniard is happy with how he’s performing now, feeling he has got to grips with his machinery, and is glad that a weekend featuring a sprint race has come along at a point where he feels more comfortable.

“Yes, very good,” he added when asked if he was happy with his understanding of the car.

“I have to say I’m starting to find a bit my way, my driving style with this car and that allowed me to start already on Friday with a good pace, which is important for the sprint qualifying.

“If you put the sprint qualifying at the beginning of the year when I did not understand that well the car, it would have been more tough. But now I felt more ready to do the qualifying and I did some good laps.”


Leclerc on the other hand wasn’t happy with how he performed and says Q3 was made more difficult by the fact that he did his first lap of the session on used softs.

“I lost a bit the rhythm in Q3 with the used tyre,” he said.

“But it’s like that. In the end, this qualifying went this way. P6 and P7, we will try to maximize the potential tomorrow.

“We have the sprint qualifying to make a good start and to hopefully do a bit better. We’ll see tomorrow.”

Additional reporting by Luca Brambilla