Sainz certified third at Monza, behind the Mercedes pairing of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, and he has the Racing Point of Sergio Perez, the Red Bull of Max Verstappen instantly behind, along with his teammate Lando Norris and Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo subsequent up.
The McLarens have normally made good begins this yr, and Sainz recommended that he may combine it with the Mercedes drivers initially, however would in any other case need to depend on one thing going amiss for them if he’s to enhance on his third place.
He agreed that his focus must be on securing third, with Red Bull and Renault specifically displaying good race tempo via the weekend – and pressured that Verstappen should battle his well past.
“I think more than third would require Mercedes doing something wrong, and we don’t normally see them getting anything wrong, or get reliability wrong,” he mentioned when requested by Motorsport.com. “But you know, never say never.
“And with Max, our target is if he’s going to be quicker, hopefully we can keep him behind at the start, and he will need to fight for it, and get us either on race pace, or around the pitstops.
“Obviously, we normally get good starts. And I always think about going on the attack. I will still go on the attack independently of who I have in front, because that’s the approach that’s always worked for me, and I will not change it.
“But I agree with you that the rest of the race could be a bit of a defending race and we need to keep our eyes open and everything.”
Sainz pressured that he sees Verstappen as the key menace, given the Red Bull’s ordinary race kind.
“It’s been a bit of a surprise to be in front of the Red Bull and the Renault, because honestly looking at the long runs they looked like the quicker car. As we know our car when you get down on fuel it comes to life a bit more.
“But I think Verstappen is normally the only car that manages to keep up with the Mercedes on race pace and, and for us, I think it’s impossible to do that.
“So if all of a sudden he manages to have the race pace that he normally has, with the Red Bull, which always comes to life in the race, it’s going to be very difficult for us to keep him behind.
“With Ricciardo I guess it’s a bit more of a question mark, because he’s starting a bit further back.
“But that Renault on race pace looked very strong in Spa, and looked very strong in FP2. So I think those guys are going to be the trickiest ones, and the Racing Points I don’t know.
“We’ll try to keep behind whoever we need to try to keep behind. We are obviously in a very good position, and we’re going to try and keep ourselves there, knowing that Verstappen and the Renaults are gonna be very, very difficult to keep behind.”
He added: “I feel they positively have no less than two-tenths a lap on race tempo. It’s sufficient I feel round Monza to overhaul, and to make my life very troublesome.
“But it is a very lengthy race right here in Monza, loads of laps and two-tenths a lap over 50-something laps is so much, so we’ll see the way it pans out.”