Carlos Sainz says he was “too cautious” during his first laps of the season opener race in Bahrain.
The new Ferrari driver did not want to take too many risks in his first race since he did not want to end his debut-race with a crash.
By doing this, though, he struggled a lot behind other cars and he could not match the performance of his teammate, who finished in P6.
However, Sainz was happy with his P8 finish. Moreover, he was also satisfied with his overall performance, especially considering how the early stages of the Grand Prix compromised the race.
“Overall it’s been a good weekend for me,” explained Sainz after the race. “Maybe the result itself is nothing special, but I think the weekend is stronger than the result feels in race circumstances and qualifying circumstances.
“I was a bit on the back foot after the first few laps, probably taking a bit of a cautious approach into my first few laps with Ferrari. I just wanted to make sure I finished this race.
“Once I managed to clear the two slower cars, the Aston and the Alpine, and I managed to get into clean air, I was very happy with the car and could extract the pace from the car.
“So a good first weekend. There will be a time in the next 22 races to be a bit more aggressive at the start and to be a bit better in those first few laps. I still need to get a bit more out of the car.”
Sainz finished one position behind Daniel Ricciardo, who replaced him at McLaren. The Spanish driver admitted that finishing right behind the Aussie was a positive result, considering how fast the English team is.
“It is encouraging because last year I remember I passed Charles pretty easy, so I remember how big was the difference between the McLaren and the Ferrari,” he said.
“I was close to overtaking the McLaren at the end, and I had much better pace than Daniel towards the end of the race. We were catching by half a second per lap.
“So there are positive signs, there’s encouragement, and there’s a big step compared to last year. Now it is a matter of fine-tuning the details, keep working hardback in Maranello and keep improving.”