MONZA, Italy – Carlos Sainz hopes to end Max Verstappen’s record streak of consecutive Formula One victories at Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix but admits the odds are against him.
Sainz beat Verstappen to pole position by 0.013 seconds at Monza, leaving the Red Bull driver in second place and sandwiched between the two Ferraris in Sunday’s line-up.
Verstappen currently has nine wins in a row, equaling the record held by Sebastian Vettel since 2013. With his tenth win in a row on Sunday, he has the chance to make this record his own.
Red Bull remains unbeaten this season, Verstappen took eleven race wins and his teammate Sergio Perez two. Even if the chances of a Ferrari victory on Sunday remain slim, Sainz still has his sights set on the top step of the podium.
“I think it can happen, nothing is impossible tomorrow, especially when you start from P1,” he said. “At the beginning I will do everything to stay in front of Max.
“I think when I look back at this year they were faster than us in 100 percent of the races, definitely faster, so I have a feeling it won’t be easy at all.”
“They will try to get past one way or another, but if something could happen we would have a very good day tomorrow and get the win.”
“I’ll just try to go into tomorrow with the mindset of winning the race and then adapting to the circumstances and Verstappen’s race pace.”
Friday’s practice gave a glimpse into each car’s heavy fuel performance over multiple laps, with Verstappen’s lap times during his race simulation averaging 0.4 seconds faster than Sainz’s.
“I’m not going to lie, what we’ve seen on the long runs, it’s harder.” [to fight Verstappen] And not the same picture as in qualifying,” he said. “Red Bull, once you get five or six laps on the tires and it all eases up a bit, that’s where their strength lies and that’s the racing pace that we’ve seen all year round.
“But I hope I can get off to a better start and make life as difficult as possible for Max and Checo. I think we’re ready to work through it as a team and do our best.”
“Tomorrow is a good opportunity. Realistically Red Bull should be faster, but we will just try to make their lives as complicated as possible and try to get the win.”
Verstappen pointed out that Ferrari’s Monza-specific upgrade package most likely helped Sainz put him on pole, but believes his car, which features a larger rear wing with more downforce, could give him an advantage in the race when it comes to limiting tire degradation.
“I’m not really surprised [Sainz is on pole position]“They were pretty quick here last year too,” said Verstappen. “If you look at their rear wing, it’s pretty well optimized for Monza.”
“If you look at our wing, it might not be the best optimization for one lap, but for a race it should be better.”
“[The result is] To be honest, nothing shocking.