“No one will remember” my strongest F1 race of 2021 - Sainz

Carlos Sainz has quipped that “no one will remember” his podium finish at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix due to the controversy surrounding the Formula 1 title battle taking centre stage.
3rd place Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Ferrari SF-21.
3rd place Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Ferrari SF-21.
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Sainz finished third behind Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton at the Yas Marina Circuit on Sunday. 

The focus after the race has been on the Safety Car stoppage and FIA race director Michael Masi’s decision to only let a handful of cars unlap themselves - which seemingly contravened the FIA sporting regulations - ultimately giving Verstappen a clear run at Hamilton to overtake him to secure the title.

Sainz was running in fourth when the Safety Car was deployed but was promoted to third after Red Bull retired Sergio Perez.

“It’s truly a great way to end a very positive first year in Ferrari for me,” Sainz said. “A very challenging year but in the end, it turned out to be a very strong one. A year that I’m quite proud of and yeah, to finish it with a podium that probably no one will remember – I’ll add it to the collection – because of whatever was happening in front. 

“I enjoyed it a lot and put together everything that I have learned through this first year to put probably my strongest race in Ferrari together.

Sainz’s fourth podium of the season propelled him up to fifth in the drivers’ championship, ahead of former teammate Lando Norris and current Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc.

It also continued Sainz’s remarkable streak of finishing in the points for the 14th consecutive race.

Reflecting on finishing ‘best of the rest’ behind the Mercedes pair and Red Bulls, Sainz added: “It’s not like finishing fifth, sixth or seventh in the championship today would have changed my mood going into the winter break. It’s another strong sign that this year was strong, that this year was positive for me. 

“Especially the way it finished in this last third, just gives me a lot of confidence going into 2022, for whatever happens and whatever car Ferrari and I have, we will go for it, because my confidence is high.”

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