Carlos Sainz Jr plans to be more aggressive on the opening lap in future races after taking a deliberately cautious approach on his Ferrari debut in the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Sainz started eighth but fell to 10th on the opening lap of the race, regaining one place when Pierre Gasly broke his front wing hitting Daniel Ricciardo’s McLaren then passing Alpine driver Fernando Alonso during the first stint (below).
He was unable to make up further ground through the grand prix but his pace compared well to new team-mate Leclerc and Sainz actually gained time in a strong final stint.
— Carlos Sainz (@Carlossainz55) March 29, 2021
“It’s been a good weekend for me,” Sainz said of his Ferrari race debut.
“Maybe the result is nothing special, overall the pace has been stronger than the result shows due to race circumstances, due to qualifying circumstances.
“I was a bit on the back foot after the first three laps. My first few laps with Ferrari, I just wanted to make sure I finish this race.
“Then, once I managed to clear two slower cars, the Aston and the Alpine, I managed to get into clear air, I was actually very happy with the car, I felt like I could extract the pace from the car, and be quick.
“It would be nice in the next few races to take more risks at the start and be a bit better in those first few laps. I need to get comfortable with the car.”
Sainz said he is not worried about his conservative first lap because it was a “conscious decision” he made.
He was wary of being caught out racing in dirty air for the first time with his new car and wanted to discover its characteristics in a new situation.
Sainz added he “definitely” expects to be more aggressive in the future.
“It’s a completely new experience, new tyre, so I wanted to take it easy and make sure I did the whole race,” he said.
“Once I was into clean air I was very quick so I’m not going to complain. I’m going to take it as a learning curve and keep improving.
“If I was lost in lap one because I don’t feel the car then it’s something to worry about.
“I’ve always been super good at the starts with McLaren, and here I’m still wanting to get to know the car in dirty air before I start attacking like I was at McLaren.
“It’s a conscious approach and I will get on top of it.”