Sainz left with ‘regret’ after back-of-the-grid penalty

Date published: October 9 2021 - Mark Scott

Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz. Istanbul October 2021

The early pace of Charles Leclerc in Turkey has left Carlos Sainz with “regret” that he is not up there fighting with him for Ferrari.

Sainz’s joy over a third podium finish of the season following his P3 finish in Russia has been quickly met by sadness in Istanbul as Ferrari decided to fit his car with the upgraded power unit.

However, whilst Sainz should have more power now at his disposal, he has exceeded his penalty-free limit of engine components and so has to start at the back of the grid for the Turkish Grand Prix, as per the FIA regulations.

Adding salt into Sainz’s wounds is the fact that team-mate Leclerc found himself within the top three in both Friday practice sessions at Istanbul Park.

“I am excited; maybe a bit less, because now I see where Charles is in the low-fuel and you see that he could be fighting for a podium,” Sainz told reporters in Istanbul.

“Then it makes me a bit regret the fact that I’m not going to be there on Saturday to fight for it and on Sunday to fight for it.

“It just makes me feel a bit more down, just because I wish I could be there up with him [Leclerc], fighting for higher places, looking at where the pace of the car is this weekend.

Kit yourself out in Ferrari colours via the official Formula 1 store

Leclerc, meanwhile, put his strong opening to the race weekend in Istanbul predominantly down to the increased grip levels at the circuit compared to 2020, when a newly resurfaced track had not bedded in properly and created an oily sheen.

But, despite the encouraging start, Leclerc is not getting carried away as he expects the likes of Mercedes, Red Bull and McLaren to all make further improvements ahead of lights out on Sunday.

“There’s just more grip and the lap times are much, much quicker, so the feeling has been good, but again, we shouldn’t get carried away because I feel like the top teams have more to show,” Leclerc warned.

“And also on high-fuel it’s been looking good, so everything looks positive for now.

“But again, for now I want to keep my head down, keep working as hard as we can, to try and fine-tune the car, and to have a perfect qualifying.”