Carlos Sainz gives verdict on Mercedes using his DRS trick at Suzuka

Mercedes attempted to use Sainz's DRS move from Singapore against him at Suzuka, but it wasn't quite as successful.


Carlos Sainz has said he was aware of the irony of Mercedes attempting to use his own DRS move to keep the Ferrari at bay in the closing stages of the Japanese GP.

Sainz used DRS to great effect to seal victory last time out at the Singapore GP, as the Spaniard deliberately backed into Lando Norris in second to help the McLaren fend off a late challenge from George Russell and Lewis Hamilton.

He earned plenty of plaudits for the risky but savvy move last weekend, but his success threatened to work against him as Mercedes tried the same thing at Suzuka against him.

However, on this occasion it wasn’t enough to keep Sainz from passing Russell for sixth place, and the Ferrari driver said he was well aware of what was happening and what he needed to do to make sure his own trick didn’t cost him points.

“Yeah, I found it funny, actually,” Sainz told media after the session. “I was laughing in the car because I could see Lewis backing off in 130R to give the DRS to George.

“And I was like, I need to make sure I attack George into the chicane. If I don’t throw him off line, it’s going to be impossible to pass them.

“And I went very deep into the chicane, managed to get a bit of a switchback, and then I used the DRS, slipstream on everything to pass him. It was good fun. And yeah, it nearly cost me my own position with my own tricks.”

Better if Lewis stayed behind

Mercedes opted to switch Hamilton in front of Russell as Sainz was chasing them down on team orders, and the Ferrari driver said he wasn’t sure that was the right call given the relative pace of the two Silver Arrows.

“I think maybe they had a better chance, honestly speaking, if Lewis would have stayed behind,” he said. “But at the same time I would have tried a move on Lewis because George was very slow in the eses, and eight and nine,” he said.

“So I would have tried into 11 or into 13, because they were both very slow there. So we will never know. But it would have been riskier to leave also Lewis behind, because if I got Lewis, I got George.

Matt Neill
Matt Neill
With years of experience in the motorsports field and Matt Neill founded to give clarity and more depth to the digital F1 landscape.
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