The Italian Grand Prix is always a special moment in the Formula 1 calendar, and it becomes even more peculiar if you experience it with a red suit and thousands of Italian fans waiting for great emotions.
So it was for Carlos Sainz, who from an individual point of view, last week, had a good GP, but the fight with his opponents, including the degradation of the rear tyres, did not go in the best way.
“The only point I was more or less confident was qualifying where the high rear grip of the Soft rear tyre was helping me to understand the car a bit better,” he said.
“In race runs I was sliding a lot the rear, never quite had the top speed, was struggling with tyre degradation,” the Spaniard added.
And Sainz's frustration is all there. A weekend spent always almost there: maybe competitive, but not enough to fight the opponents. A huge regret on a Sunday that saw the accident between Hamilton and Verstappen open a fight for the podium to the "outsiders". A fight that McLaren took part in, but which Ferrari could only witness.
“It’s [been] very tricky, it’s been a difficult weekend for me and now I need to analyse what I can do better for the next race,” Sainz stated.
“We were always there very close to the opportunity but never quite had the pace and the tools to get in the fight,” - he added - “We have certain weaknesses with the car that are too big, when we were in a fight it was very difficult to keep the others behind or attack them.
“It’s a shame because you could always see the podium there very close to you but never had the chance to fight for it.”
Ferrari had managed to overtake the main contenders for third place in the constructors' standings in the Netherlands, at Zandvoort, but the thrill for the Maranello team lasted very little. McLaren stunned in Italy, conquering the two highest steps of the podium, with two quality drivers and a car that in the straights was not at all easy to beat.
"They had a very impressive pace they showed all weekend, right from the getaway, we could see they were going to be in the fight for the podium,” he said.
"They had even more pace than last year. Last year we had a good pace but not as good as what they had this year.
"A combination of great starts and great pace, I think they managed to put together a solid weekend and for that I congratulate them,” - he added - "I have a lot of appreciation and in some way, I will be happy for my ex-engineers and the people that work there."
"They have been working very hard.
"They have gone through some very hard moments in the team and it is nice to see a historic team like McLaren winning again," - he said - "But unfortunately, they are in a fight for us in the championship and it is the worst possible result we could have had for P3 in the championship."
"We are still within reach, they have used their chances. Congratulations to them and we will try and get them back in Russia."