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Carlos Sainz

Sainz reveals doubts over late podium charge

Carlos Sainz scored his third podium in three races this year as he continued his strong start to the campaign in Japan.

Sainz Japan
To news overview © XPBimages

Carlos Sainz has admitted he had doubts over his potential to finish the Japanese Grand Prix on the podium.

The Spaniard crossed the line in third place as he continued his electric start to the year, adding the podium result to his P3 finish in Bahrain and his victory in Australia.

Sainz had rapid pace in the final stint as he pitted later than his rivals and closed down Lando Norris and team-mate Charles Leclerc.

With the strategy proving to be successful, Sainz revealed that he had concerns that a one-stop strategy would be faster once degradation proved to be not as aggressive as originally feared.

“I had a good race, to be honest, very happy,” he said. “It was quite tough out there with the degradation but then suddenly the clouds came, the degradation went a lot lower.

“Suddenly I thought that maybe one stop was quicker and we were on the two. I had to overtake a lot of cars out there today.

“Overtaking was tricky, like always at Suzuka. You really need to nail the last chicane to get a good run into Turn 1. I could finish my moves, but it was tough out there.”

Hard tyre benefit

Sainz added he was pleased with the performance of the Hard compound which aided his pursuit of third place.

“I thought it was on, but I thought it was going to be very difficult to get back into fourth or P3,” he stated.

“[With] how tricky it was to overtake the Mercedes on the second stint and how difficult it was to follow, I knew I needed a very big delta to approach Lando and Charles and in the end we managed.

“I was quick on that Hard tyre. I really liked how the Hard gave me a good feeling to push and I could get the moves down and get that podium.”

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