Carlos Sainz called his latest fifth-place finish “a bit more special than others” after being so quick he forced Ferrari and Charles Leclerc to "give up" in the Japanese Grand Prix.
Sainz qualified seventh and took advantage of Leclerc’s clash with Max Verstappen to run as high as fourth early on and eventually match his best result of the season.
Leclerc had to recover through the field after damaging his front wing hitting Verstappen on the opening lap, but was unable to get within five seconds of Sainz in the second half of the race and eventually aborted his long stint to change tyres.
When Motorsport.com suggested it must have felt good to force Ferrari to do that, Sainz said: “Oh yeah, it did. When you have a Ferrari 10 seconds behind, and when they are a couple of seconds faster in race pace, you think you’re not going to make it.
“But I had been saving my tyres at the beginning of the stint and when I was required to push I was able to find half a second of pace and although he was half a second quicker for the first three or four laps, he suddenly degraded and I kept up the pace and he gave up. It was nice!”
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