Carlos Sainz was very happy with his third-place at the 2023 Italian Grand Prix, saying Red Bull were too quick for Ferrari to compete with at Monza.
Sainz enjoyed some fantastic battles over the course of the race, holding off Max Verstappen for 14 laps at the start of the race, and also keeping Sergio Perez behind until six laps to go.
After starting on pole, Sainz then had to fight Charles Leclerc for the final spot on the podium, their battle threatening to end in tears at one point before the Spaniard came out on top.
“Obviously very happy because P3 in Monza in front of the Tifosi is as good as it can get for this weekend,” Sainz told select members of the press, including Total-Motorsport.com. “Red Bull were in the end quite a bit quicker today.
“I tried everything I could to keep them behind, especially that first stint in front of Max. It meant that I was wearing out my tyres a lot and using them more than I would’ve liked.
“I became very vulnerable towards the end of the stints and was put under a lot of pressure by Max first, then Checo then Charles. But we made it.”
Sainz explains late battle with Leclerc
Sainz spent the entire race ahead of Leclerc bar a few laps after pitting first, but the two Ferraris went side-by-side on a number of occasions.
Well ahead of George Russell in fifth, Leclerc locked up heavily with his final lunge at Turn 1, and for a second it looked like he was set to collide with Sainz.
That was after the Spaniard had begged the team to order both drivers to hold position in the closing laps, but Ferrari refused, creating a fantastic battle in the closing laps.
With one of the biggest prizes in F1 on the line, Sainz was just able to hold on despite Leclerc having a tyre and DRS advantage, and the Spaniard said he loved the combative nature of his race.
“We obviously knew that the car that is in DRS is always going to be feeling like a quicker car,” Sainz added. “But we know that once you get into a DRS you feel weaker, at the same time we were both fighting for a podium in Monza.
“So there was always going to be a bit of a fight, a tight battle but I enjoyed battling Max, Checo and Charles. I think it was a good day for everyone and I just did everything to stay in front and it worked.”