Carlos Sainz was extremely grateful to Mercedes as Ferrari witnessed Lewis Hamilton’s allowing the Spaniard to unlap himself in an attempt to catch Lando Norris in P5.
Sainz, in P6, was hunting down Norris, who was in P5. Ferrari told Sainz to quickly unlap himself from Hamilton. However, the move to overtake was too risky and could have resulted in damage for both cars. Almost immediately after, Hamilton’s race engineer was heard instructing him to yield. Right then, at the straight down to turn 4 Sainz unlapped himself from Hamilton.
Sainz began by explaining that both teams had different championship goals as Hamilton was fighting for the world title while Ferrari was aiming to be the best of the rest in the 2021 season.
“I am P6, he’s P2; he’s fighting for the championship and I am fighting to try and catch Lando for P5,” Sainz said.
Sainz was struggling to get into Hamilton’s DRS, though it was necessary as the move was crucial for Ferrari if they wanted to have a chance to challenge Norris in P5.
“If I would have got into DRS I would have probably tried to unlap myself. The problem is I just couldn’t get into DRS because the Mercedes is actually not that bad, obviously, in the corners.”
“Then suddenly I managed to get into DRS and I just warned my team that I was obviously wanting to unlap myself to try and go and get Lando.”
“At that time [when he allowed Hamilton to lap him] I let him by because he was running in [one minute] 8.5, 8.6 that at the time was quicker than what I can do with the hard.”
“But then suddenly he had a drop in pace and I could actually keep getting quicker with the hard tire. Suddenly I got really close to him for 10 laps and I was stuck 1.5 to two seconds behind him.”
Sainz said that he was indebted to Hamilton on the team radio. He soon expressed his gratitude off-track: “There was very good teamwork there between my team, the FIA and Mercedes to just make the move as simple and as danger-less as possible for both of us because obviously, I didn’t want to ruin his race and any kind of bad situation.”
“So it worked perfectly and unfortunately just cost me 10 to 15 laps of race time. But I cannot really complain too much because it’s a race circumstance.”