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Carlos Sainz

Sainz: Ferrari pace to Red Bull a 'surprise'

The Ferrari driver secured a podium in the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.

Sainz race Bahrain 2024
To news overview © XPBimages

Carlos Sainz has conceded his pace relative to Red Bull's Sergio Perez was a "pleasant surprise" after finishing third at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The Spaniard began his final season with Ferrari in fine form to finish on the podium, finishing just over two seconds adrift of Mexican Perez, albeit 25 seconds down on race-winner Max Verstappen.

After making vital moves on George Russell and teammate Charles Leclerc to secure third, Sainz said: "I felt really good out there.

"The start wasn't ideal but from there on I just managed my tyres well and then I could do my pace, overtook both cars on my way to the podium.

"Keeping up with the Red Bull was a pleasant surprise, it is still not enough, still not where we want to be, but good steps forward compared to last year and a solid start to the season."

'Beauty of F1'

Sainz was hopeful that a second set of Hard tyres would pay dividends at the end of the race as Perez ran Softs to close out the race.

"We had a very clear plan using the Softs and the two [sets] of Hards," explained Sainz.

"We feel more comfortable with the car with the Hards because it overheats less and degrades less.

"It is a trickier tyre with warm-up and front-locking but then once we get it working we can push on it.

"With Red Bull, you can see the different strategy choices but that is also the beauty of F1 and we could play around a bit with it."

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RESULTS 2024 F1 Chinese Grand Prix