Carlos Sainz saw the funny side of Mercedes copying him during Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix, where he had to settle for sixth.
Following on from his brilliant victory at the Singapore Grand Prix, Sainz’s race in Japan was considerably less eventful, as he quickly settled into P5.
Sainz had started sixth but almost immediately got past Sergio Perez, who endured a shocking day and twice retired from the race.
Having been quicker than Charles Leclerc in recent races, it was the Monegasque who had the better of the 29-year-old in Suzuka, who was undercut by Lewis Hamilton.
Hamilton undercut Sainz following his second pit-stop, with the Ferrari driver having made his second trip to the pits four laps later than the seven-time World Champion.
Whilst pitting earlier gave Hamilton the position on track, Sainz was quicker than the Mercedes driver in the latter stages.
Sainz quickly caught Hamilton in the closing laps as the 103-time race winner was being held up by George Russell, who was trying to make a one-stop strategy work.
Once Sainz caught the Mercedes duo, the Silver Arrows attempted to copy the Spaniard’s tactics from Singapore.
In Singapore, Sainz always kept Lando Norris with a second behind him, so that the McLaren driver could defend from Russell with DRS whilst ensuring that he remained in the lead.
Russell attempted to do the same with Hamilton; however, they failed miserably.
Sainz quickly recognised that Mercedes were trying to copy his successful Singapore tactics, something he found comical.
“[Mercedes are] using my [DRS] trick against me,” Sainz joked over the radio whilst behind Russell and Hamilton.
After recognising that it wasn’t working, the Silver Arrows did make Russell and Hamilton switch positions, allowing the 38-year-old to escape.
Sainz ended up getting past Russell with ease, to the delight of the Maranello-based team.
“Yeah, old school pass. Good job,” Sainz’s race engineer said.
“I’m gonna go get [Hamilton],” insisted Sainz.
Unfortunately for the Ferrari driver, there just wasn’t enough laps to do anything about Hamilton, leaving Sainz to finish in P6.
He ended up finishing two places behind Leclerc, who secured a comfortable P4.