Formula One: We are not a disaster, says Carlos Sainz as he defends Ferrari's strategy

This comes after Carlos Sainz decided to make a pit stop with just 10 laps remaining to finish fifth. PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS (REUTERS) - Carlos Sainz defended Ferrari's French Grand Prix strategy on Sunday (July 24) after making a pit stop with just 10 laps remaining to finish fifth rather than pushing for a place on the podium.

The Spaniard went from 19th on the grid to third but had a five-second penalty hanging over him for an unsafe release from his first pit stop, and was also on tyres whose performance was likely to drop off.

There was some confusion and surprise from observers when Ferrari appeared to call him in just as he was overtaking Red Bull's Sergio Perez for third place in a race led for the first 18 laps by Ferrari's Charles Leclerc, who crashed out.

"I think the team are doing a very good job on strategy this year," Sainz told Sky Sports television.

"At Ferrari, we get super-criticised for things that other teams might be going through also in their pit-stop windows.

"Every time there is a tricky moment on strategy, we are discussing things but we are not a disaster like people seem to say we are. We like to discuss things, we are open about them."

Sainz said he would have had to finish five seconds ahead of Perez to make third place stick and Ferrari felt that that was not possible.

"The team have a lot more data on the computer, they have a lot more numbers to go through, and if they took that decision, I'm 100 per cent convinced they did it with the best of intentions and the best spirit," said Sainz.

The Spaniard said he would have pitted anyway if he could not pass Perez but as soon as he overtook the Red Bull, he was ready to try to go to the end.

"At that stage, our numbers said impossible to make it to the end, plus the five-second penalty you risk losing position... so the team took it to play safe. We knew P5 plus fastest lap is good points," he added.

"In the moment, maybe my feeling was different."

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