Ferrari drivers rue missed chance for Monza podium

Henry Valantine
Ferrari drivers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz. Italian GP 2021.

Both Ferrari drivers head through the Ascari chicane at Monza.

Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz both thought a podium had been on the cards for Ferrari at their home race at Monza, but it was not to be.

Leclerc brought his car home P4 in an eventful race at the home of the tifosi, having jumped up to second when the Safety Car was out while Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen’s cars were cleared out of harm’s way.

On a weekend when McLaren, their main rivals in the Constructors’ Championship, took maximum points with a 1-2 finish, the Scuderia were left bemoaning their luck after missing out on a top-three result – but Leclerc still felt his frustrating result came via one of the best drives of his Formula 1 career to date.

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“I always put my heart into it, then for sure on television sometimes you see it more, in some races. I’m glad when you notice that, sometimes instead you don’t,” he told Sky Italia.

“Today you saw it because we had the opportunity to try to overtake back some cars as with [Valtteri] Bottas. I really tried everything. Yes, it’s a P4, it’s like this, but the personal performance I think is one of my best performances in Formula 1.

“So I’m really happy with my performance today. Then when we are so close to the podium [it’s a pity], it’s like this, but that’s fine.

“For sure I know the fans won’t be happy to see us P4. I get that, we all get that. But if we look at where we were last year and where we are now, it’s a great step forward. And this is thanks to all the work of the team.

“We are certainly not where we want to be yet, but the step was huge and we have to admit that too.”

Carlos Sainz, meanwhile, started and finished in P6 on his first start as a Ferrari driver at Monza. He admitted his confidence was knocked after a big crash at the Ascari chicane in FP2 this weekend, but felt he did not quite have the pace in the car to challenge further forward.

“I’m a bit frustrated for sure because today, with the crash of Hamilton and Verstappen, we had the opportunity maybe to achieve the podium,” said the Spaniard.

“But we were always there. We hadn’t neither the pace with the car nor the confidence in the corners with the back of the car, nor the speed on the straight to go get it.

“It’s a pity because there was the opportunity but we were there all weekend, half a second behind McLaren, Red Bull and Mercedes and we didn’t make it.”

Additional reporting by Luca Brambilla