Carlos Sainz was impressed with the pace of Ferrari in Styria, saying they’d progressed to being almost on the pace of Red Bull and Mercedes in the race.
Both Ferrari drivers put in impressive performances around the Red Bull Ring at the weekend, with the Spaniard making his way up to P6 from a P12 start, while team-mate Charles Leclerc recovered from contact on the first lap to make his way through the field to take P7 once the chequered flag dropped.
Having bemoaned the team’s ongoing problems with tyre wear in recent weeks, Ferrari were able to turn that around with Sainz going further into the race than anyone bar Daniel Ricciardo, pitting on lap 42 as he managed to overcut his way through the field before his switch to fresher rubber.
In terms of his own performance, the Spaniard gave himself a strong assessment – as well as giving plaudits for the outright speed of his car in the race.
“In the quick analysis, it was my most complete race for Ferrari so far,” Sainz said, per Motorsport-Total.
“It was definitely a very strong stint on the medium. We were on a very competitive pace, faster even than McLaren and almost at the level of the top. From then on, the feeling in the car was just great.”
Sainz’s former team-mate Lando Norris feels the Scuderia are still very much in the battle for P3 in the Constructors’ Championship this season despite their recent struggles, and the Ferrari driver was full of praise for how his team went about trying to improve their fortunes, after an off-colour weekend at the French Grand Prix as both cars finished outside the points.
“When I came back to Maranello on Sunday evening and we had all these meetings on Monday and Tuesday, I just saw how the team pooled all the forces, how everybody started to come up with theories and then how we came up with a short-, medium- and long-term plan together with every single department,” Sainz explained of their reaction to a poor race at Paul Ricard.
This was “certainly very impressive” for the Spaniard to see, as he had a full opportunity to see how the Scuderia react to adversity following a tough race.
He continued: “It was my first real experience as a Ferrari driver to see how such a big team and such a cohesive team reacts to this challenge, and I really enjoy it.
“When I say I was impressed, I don’t say it for nothing.”