Carlos Sainz was without a doubt the big winner of the SÃ £ o Paulo Grand Prix Sprint Qualifying. The Ferrari driver, who wants to take care of his starts at the end of the season, took full advantage of the soft tires to gain three positions in the first four corners. The Spaniard stood out above all for his daring pass over Max Verstappen to gain second place and then for his heroic resistance against the other Red Bull, that of Sergio PÃ Despite the lack of assistance from the DRS.

“The start was great, I needed it because I wanted to improve on the starts in this second half of the season, so having such a good one today boosts my confidence, ”Sainz commented as he stepped out of his car. “In the first three corners I really attacked and always tried to gain positions. It was very close with Checo and Max but we managed to pass them.”

In the top 10 of the starting grid, only four drivers opted for the soft ones. Without counting Sainz, Valtteri Bottas, poleman, Pierre Gasly, eighth, and Esteban Ocon, ninth, also opted for the red gums.

But according to the Ferrari driver, the decision on which tires to use during the sprint was not obvious since the softs certainly had some advantages over the mediums but also significant drawbacks. Finally, the drop in temperatures late in the day tipped the scales to the side of tender.

“We tried [the soft tire] in FP2 and compared to the medium it wasn’t bad in performance,” said Sainz. “It was a little worse in terms of degradation and overheating but the track temperature dropped ten degrees for the Sprint Qualifiers and that was enough to go from a 50% chance [with the soft tire] to 51%. It worked but, honestly, it was very tense. “

Third on the starting grid for Sunday’s race, Sainz has serious podium contenders in his mirrors, namely PÃ © rez, who starts fourth, and Lewis Hamilton, returned to tenth place following the application of his motor penalty. Aware of the Red Bull and Mercedes’ superiority over long distances, Sainz keeps the podium in the back of his mind but focuses more on his own race. For it to be successful, it will take a good start and a good strategy again.

“As soon as one of the leading drivers makes a mistake, there will be a big opportunity to finish on the podium,” he told Sky Sports. “But that’s not my main concern because it’s not up to us. What depends on us is the start and the strategy. It is on these points that we are going to focus tomorrow. [gotta] continue to manage the tires well and understand the car like i already do. the last 24 hours have been successful so let’s keep going . “

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