Carlos Sainz has defended Ferrari's approach to strategy, after the team appeared to call him in for a pit-stop while he was in the process of overtaking Sergio Perez.
Having started from the back of the grid after exceeding the permitted usage of several components, Sainz had scythed his way through the field and was challenging Perez for third place on Lap 42 of 53, when the team radioed him to come in for a second tyre stop.
Not for the first time this season, Sainz overruled the Ferrari pit wall, and instead stayed out to pass Perez, before finally making his stop one lap later and emerging in ninth.
The Spaniard was able to hustle his freshly-shod Ferrari up to fifth by the chequered flag, but having been third before his final pit-stop, questions were raised as to whether Ferrari's decision to pit Sainz was the correct one.
Sainz had also had to serve a five-second time penalty for an unsafe release at his first pit-stop.
Sainz: We are not a disaster like people say
However, Sainz defended his team's actions, adding that he felt Ferrari's strategy decisions sometimes came in for greater criticism than those of other teams.
"I think the team has done a very good job," Sainz told Sky Sports F1.
"I still believe, at Ferrari, we get super criticised for things that other teams might also be going through in their pit-stop windows.
"Every time there's a tricky moment in strategy, we are discussing things, but we are not a disaster like people seem to say we are.
"We like to discuss things, we are open about them. Yes, I was in the middle of an overtake, but the team believed that was the right lap to stop and come back through the field."
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Sainz "100 per cent convinced" of Ferrari's decision
Sainz added that even though he believed it was preferable to stay out on worn tyres, he trusted his team to make the right calls from the pit wall.
"I believed, at the time, it was maybe better to risk it and stay out and see what happened with the tyres, even if it was a Medium tyre on the limit of the life, but I had just made it to P3 and I said, 'If I make these tyres last, maybe I can finish on the podium', but we will never know," added Sainz.
"The team has a lot more data on the computer, they have a lot more numbers to go through, and if they took that decision, I'm 100 per cent convinced that they did it with the best of intentions.
"We need to keep progressing and we need to analyse everything and see how we can be better, but I'm convinced the team is doing a good job."
Sainz felt podium finish was possible
Sainz added that though he felt a podium place was possible, it would have been impossible for him to overhaul eventual winner Max Verstappen after starting from his lowly grid position.
"A podium position, I think with a perfect race, we could have made it," said Sainz.
"The win? I think Max was pretty fast and perfect out there, so starting last, it's not like we could beat Max.
"I think, without the penalty, we would have started on pole or in the first row.
"Then a win would have been definitely possible, but we started 19th, and how everything turned out, finishing P5 and [taking] the point for fastest lap is okay, but I believe that with a perfect race, we could have been further up."
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