Carlos Sainz said he believes he can convert his pole position for the Singapore GP into a first victory of the season for Ferrari despite the looming challenge of Mercedes and other teams.
Sainz secured his second consecutive pole position around Marina Bay as he edged out George Russell by 0.073s, with the typically dominant Red Bull of Max Verstappen failing to even make it to Q3 as the team struggled with their car.
That has opened the door for the chasing pack, including McLaren and even Aston Martin further back as well as Ferrari and Mercedes, and speaking to media Sainz said he believed he could go one better than the Italian GP this time and hold on to victory.
“I’m more confident mainly because of the track layout. I think it’s a bit easier to hold on to our to our track position. And that obviously gives me more confidence then in Monza in terms of pace,” he said.
“I really have no idea how we’re going to be. Looking at long run data from Friday, the Merc, the Aston, and the Red Bulls, they look a bit quicker than us in the degradation and race pace, so it could be that tomorrow we have to run yet again a bit of a defensive race.
“But I don’t discount that even around this track we could hold on to P1, because it’s a lot more difficult to pass than other tracks this season, but our race pace still looks like our weakest point.”
Sainz has been on a strong run of form in recent races, edging ahead of teammate Charles Leclerc on both qualifying and race pace, and the Spaniard said he currently feels the most confident at any time since he joined the Scuderia from McLaren.
“(I have) a lot of confidence for sure. I’m not gonna lie, I’m feeling very well with the car and I’m driving very good, probably the best since I’ve been half a Ferrari driver, and finally extracting my full potential and I’m happy to see that,” he said.
“I’m happy with the work that I’m doing with my engineers to keep extracting more and more potential and more performance out of the car, and it’s obviously going to give me a lot of confidence moving forward.”