Carlos Sainz has admitted that he took an overly cautious approach to the opening laps of the Bahrain Grand Prix as part of a conscious plan to take things easy in his first races as a Ferrari driver.
The Spaniard - who made the switch to the Scuderia after two years with McLaren - qualified in eighth ahead in the first F1 event of the season before putting in a solid performance to finish the race in the same place. Sainz was happy with the result and avoided doing anything too risky, something he is keen to continue to do as he gets used to his new car.
"I'm staying disciplined with myself," Sainz told Sky Sports. "I don't want to do any stupid stuff in the first few races. I need to get the races in the bag to try and feel the car in these situations."
Sainz feels that he did not have a great first lap of the race, though intends to go back to his usual style of attack once he has become more used to the Ferrari.
"I had a bad first lap," the Spaniard explained. "On purpose I was wanting to take it easy on the first lap. I didn't know how the car was going to react to this wind and to the dirty air.
"Maybe a bit over-cautious, I'm not going to lie, but it was on purpose. There will be time in the next few races to pick up the attacking first laps that I was doing in the McLaren.
"At the moment I am taking it a bit easy, but then once I was in clean air the pace was very good. I found myself in a very good feeling with the car and [on the] medium and hard stint I was pushing really hard, and [I was] quite a bit quicker than the McLarens in front. So better than I thought."