Carlos Sainz will start the Italian GP from Pole Position, carrying the hopes of a nation on his back. However, the Spaniard is aware that Red Bull’s Max Verstappen will be a formidable foe.
Saturday proved that, in certain conditions, Ferrari’s pace is enough to challenge the Austrian team over one lap. A race distance is an altogether different challenge, though.
Tyre degradation remains a fundamental problem for the SF-23, which could be a huge issue in the Grand Prix.
Adrian Newey and Peter Wache’s RB19 looks after its tyres fantastically, capable of maintaining performance without degrading the tyres.
Ferrari does not enjoy this luxury. Instead, the Italian team often loses lap time as a stint progresses. With this in mind, the first lap could be pivotal in the race outcome, and Carlos Sainz recognises this.
Speaking post-qualifying, today’s Pole sitter made clear he will give everything to claim victory:
“I think it can happen. I think nothing is impossible tomorrow, especially starting from P1. If I get a good start, I’m going to do everything I can to stay ahead of Max.
“I think, looking back at this year, one hundred per cent of races, they’ve been quicker, and they’ve been clearly quicker.
“So that makes me feel like it’s not going to be easy at all, and they’re going to try a way past one way or another. But, you know, something could happen.
“We could also have a particularly good day tomorrow and get the win.
“So I’m just going to try and go open-minded into tomorrow, drive us as I want to win the race and then adapt to the circumstances and to the race pace of each car.”
Sainz narrowly missed out on victory at Monza in 2020, so the Spaniard will be eager to take the first step of the podium in iconic red colours.
Winning a race for Ferrari in Italy is one of the biggest feats a driver can accomplish in F1, and such opportunities can be difficult to come by.
Today will decide if Verstappen, Sainz, Leclerc (or perhaps someone else) will make history.
Author: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang