Carlos Sainz ‘needed’ Miami podium after recent woes

Carlos Sainz ended the Miami Grand Prix third behind race winner Max Verstappen and runner-up Charles Leclerc.

Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz is pleased to have returned to the podium in Miami after a difficult last couple of races in Australia and Italy.

The Spaniard suffered a heavily disrupted qualifying in Australia before crashing out of the race early on, and a further crash in qualifying for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix preceded a hit from behind from Daniel Ricciardo as his day ended early in Bologna too.

The pressure mounted on the 27-year-old when he found the barrier during practice in Florida, but qualifying second and finishing the race third was just the tonic he needed as he seeks to improve his fortunes.

READ: Sainz reveals he’s still struggling with neck pain after Miami crash

“After a couple of eventful GPs, it’s good to be back on the podium and to have both cars up there for the team,” he said in a Ferrari press release.

Sainz had asked for TECPRO barriers to be installed instead of concrete ones at Turn 14 after a heavy impact caused neck pain on Friday, but his request was denied.

That pain carried on into the rest of the weekend, but he fought off the discomfort – as well as Sergio Perez – to seal a podium.

“In general, it was a solid race but also a very tough one. The neck is still not 100% and half way through the race it became a limitation,” he added.

“Defending from Checo who was on new Mediums after the restart was also very tough and the slightest mistake would have meant losing P3. I managed to fend him off well and the podium was the reward.

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“I think I needed a race like this to reset a bit and build on it for the upcoming races. Up next is my home GP and we’ll make sure we get there in the very best. Miami has been a unique weekend.”

“Thanks to all the fans out there for their support!”

Team principal Mattia Binotto is naturally disappointed that the team’s first front row lockout since 2019 could not be converted into victory as Max Verstappen beat Charles Leclerc, but the pace of the car and the points taken home last weekend are a source of optimism for the Italian.

“We can’t be completely happy with today’s race because, although the F1-75 was competitive, our rivals were a few tenths per lap quicker than us,” he added.

“If you consider how many points we are taking home from here, we can’t be too disappointed, given that we are leading both championships, but it’s clear we now need to respond. We are keen to get the job done and there are still a lot of races to go.

“I want to congratulate both our drivers for the way they raced today. After a splendid pole yesterday, Charles left nothing on the table in his efforts to win while, from qualifying onwards.”

READ: Max Verstappen calls for better reliability from Red Bull after Miami win

The 52-year-old praised Sainz’s fortitude as the Spaniard bounced back from his crash on Friday to pick up 15 valuable points.

“Carlos made up for Friday’s setback and this afternoon, he produced a solid performance, especially in the way he fended off Perez in style in the closing stages,” added Binotto.

“Finally, I want to thank the American fans for their enthusiastic welcome and my congratulations to F1 and the Grand Prix organisers for putting on an incredible show, both on and off the track.”

Ferrari are expected to bring upgrades, including revised sidepods, to Barcelona that could help them eradicate “porpoising” and gain an advantage over Red Bull.