The Spaniard had a scrappy qualifying session in Jeddah, after a spin at the start of Q2 meant he lost a bit of bodywork after slightly hitting the barriers. That resulted in a balance shift in his SF21 which made the car too oversteery for his liking, meaning he ended Saturday in a lolwy 15th place.
But things went much better for the Ferrari man on Sunday at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, as he fought his way to finish a decent P8. Reflecting on the race, Sainz said it was “fun” to drive, and enjoyed his recovery to score four points on Sunday after a disappointing qualifying:
“This was a fun race to drive and we cannot be too disappointed starting from fifteenth and finishing in eighth place. I had a good start and I was able to attack, immediately making up some places on the Hard tyre, which was working really well.”
Starting the race on the hard (C2) tyres, Sainz felt he wasn’t helped much by the early interruptions to the race, which benefitted his rivals who started on softer, less durable tyres, as they could change tyres during the red flag period, leaving the Spaniard no option but to nurse a set of medium (C3) tyres to the end of the race, eventually losing out to his teammate Leclerc:
“Unfortunately, the first Safety Car and red flag came out too early for my interests. We had no choice but to fit the Mediums, even though we knew we had to make them last 36 laps.
“We had a very strong pace at the beginning of the second stint, making it up to seventh and catching [Pierre] Gasly ahead, but towards the end my tyres were completely finished and in the final laps we couldn’t do anything to defend from Charles [Leclerc], who was on the Hard compound," he rued.
But at the end of the day, Sainz was happy with his recovery – considering how poorly qualifying went for him - and is looking forward to the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi:
“It’s a shame about yesterday’s qualifying, as I’m convinced we could have finished higher up, but I’m happy to have been able to score points again. Now we look forward to Abu Dhabi to end the season on a high!” he concluded.
The guys have a message for you Tifosi ✉️— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) December 5, 2021
The #SaudiArabianGP has been tougher than expected!
Thanks for the support and see you in Abu Dhabi 👋❤️#essereFerrari 🔴 #SaudiArabianGP #Charles16 #Carlos55 pic.twitter.com/kArCDSBedQ