Ferrari boss stunned by Sainz: ‘Nobody expected a result like this’

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Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur has applauded Carlos Sainz’s never-give-up attitude after claiming a famous Australian Grand Prix victory.

Sainz’s third F1 win comes just a fortnight after undergoing an appendectomy during the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix weekend, forcing him to miss qualifying and the race, and leading to a superb debut for 18-year-old Oliver Bearman.

Coming into this weekend at Melbourne’s Albert Park Circuit, there were lingering doubts over whether Sainz would be fit to drive, with even the 29-year-old doubting his participation ahead of first practice.

But the Spaniard, who is without a contract for 2025, delivered a consummate drive to lead home Ferrari’s first one-two since the 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix.

“I was not expecting any less than you [the media], but overall this winter we agreed together to push until the last lap of the season,” said Vasseur.

“He did a fantastic job in Bahrain pushing the team, for sure, Jeddah was a tough weekend – a tough weekend for Carlos, tough weekend for the team. The recovery is mega, you have to keep in mind that two weeks ago he was in the hospital.

“I think even Friday he was not 100 percent sure he’d be able to drive. After a couple of laps, he was on the pace, this was part of the success too.

“You can’t give up one lap into free practice if you want to perform. For sure, it’s amazing, and looking where he’s coming from nobody expected a result like this.”

SF24 a ‘huge step’

Sainz had taken the lead on lap two from Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who went on to retire shortly after with a right-rear brake issue that caught as he entered his pit box.

The Spaniard, though, looked dialled in with his SF24 from the outset, with progress especially being made regarding tyre management which was an issue for Ferrari last season.

Despite Ferrari moving to within four points of Red Bull in the constructors’ championship, Vasseur is adamant he is “not focused at all on the performance” of the Scuderia’s main F1 rival.

He added: “I’m focused on the performance of our car. We made a huge step forward. Perhaps on the pace of one lap, we were nowhere last year.

“Where we made a huge step is more the consistency between the two compounds, or between the one stint and the other one. The car is much easier to drive, much, much easier to read also for the drivers, and much easier to develop.”

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