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Sainz opens up on 'mentally tough' race after Ferrari radio discussions

Carlos Sainz explains the mental battles he faced en route to his maiden F1 win at a breathless British Grand Prix.

Carlos Sainz has opened up on the mental battles he faced en route to his maiden Formula 1 win at a breathless British Grand Prix. During an up-and-down race for the Ferrari driver, Sainz eventually took victory after a late overtake on teammate Charles Leclerc. Prior to that, Sainz's race featured a battle with Red Bull's Max Verstappen, team orders to let Leclerc pass for the lead, and late pressure from Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton and the second Red Bull of Sergio Perez. Speaking after the race, Sainz recalled the mental rollercoaster he faced in a race where he felt he could not get the full performance from the car. "Mentally, it was probably one of the toughest races," Sainz told media, including RacingNews365.com . "There was so much going on on the radio and trying to manage both the gaps to Charles and Lewis, and at the beginning with Max there was a lot of fighting going on. "I wasn't completely comfortable with the car, I was struggling a lot with understeer in the high-speed corners, opening the front left tyre which was taking a lot of pace out of me. "I kept it cool, kept believing, kept within reach all the time and suddenly when the opportunity came, I grabbed it."

Sainz: I wanted to switch to softs

After previously being instructed to let Leclerc through, Sainz's race flipped once more during the late Safety Car period, which came out for the removal of Esteban Ocon's stranded Alpine. Many drivers, including Sainz, elected to pit for soft tyres and, with teammate Leclerc forced to stay out and retain track position on older, hard tyres, Sainz became the favourite for the win at the restart. Despite calls from Ferrari to protect Leclerc, Sainz was able to make an early move for the lead and set himself up for the win. When asked about the decision-making during the Safety Car period, Sainz commented that his main desire was to make a switch away from the Hard tyre. "I really don't know what happened in front. I knew as soon as the Safety Car came out that it was a great chance to use the Soft tyre," added Sainz. "I had been on those hard tyres for longer, the front left of the hard tyre was already graining, which I didn't expect. "It was a tyre that I wanted to get out of the way quickly because it was not a tyre that was giving me a great feeling on pace and when the Safety Car came out I was ready to pit as soon as it happened. "I knew passing Charles was going to be pretty easy at the restart. I was 100% sure that the opportunity was there, I just wanted to do it in the cleanest way possible without affecting his race because I knew behind me there were a lot of guys on Soft [tyres] to attack him."

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