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Formula 1 | Data reveal: Latifi brake pad cost Sainz Monaco win

At the race in Monaco, Carlos Sainz was the only pilot among the top drivers who switched directly from rain tires to slicks, while both his team-mate Charles Leclerc and the two Red Bull drivers switched to intermediates. As a result, Sainz was able to temporarily take the lead in the race.

The Spaniard is certain that he would have been on the winning strategy if Nicholas Latifi in the Williams hadn’t thwarted him: “It’s disappointing because after switching to the hard tires we were unlucky with a Williams in the Outlap, who drove very slowly in the first and second sectors before letting me through.”

“That cost me two seconds, which was ultimately enough for Checo to overcut me,” he explains. “It’s a shame because the hard tire had quite a bit of grip from the start, while the wet tire was very slippery before.”

Data confirm: Sainz would have won without Latifi

“The whole race was decided in this outlap. When I pulled out of the pits, my rear tires were spinning a bit, which is why he [Latifi] could slip through at all. When I think about the fact that I was leading the race at that point, he could have stayed behind me instead of overtaking me like some others did,” says Sainz angrily.

“In the end he let me pass in the tunnel, but by then it was too late because I had already lost a lot of time and I couldn’t warm up my tires properly either. I was really angry on the radio because he had space much earlier to have to do.”

If you take a closer look at the data, the Spaniard is right with his thesis. His teammate Charles Leclerc, who switched to the hard tires at the same time, was able to go a second quicker in the first sector of the outlap and even a second and a half faster in the second sector because, unlike Sainz, he didn’t have any traffic.

When Sergio Perez pitted one lap behind the Ferrari drivers, he was able to retain the lead of the race, 1.5 seconds behind Carlos Sainz. So Sainz would have stayed in front without the traffic with Latifi in his outlap.

Sainz frustrated: did everything right, but still lost

Accordingly, the Ferrari driver is disappointed: “I think we did everything right. We were very patient with the rain tires and then switched to dry tires at the right time, but the Williams cost us the win today, which is frustrating.”

For Sainz it was clear pretty quickly in the race that he would switch from rain tires directly to slicks, which he also made clear to his team over the radio. Scuderia were actually looking to bring the Spaniard in on intermediates a lap after Sergio Perez’s pit stop before Sainz intervened.

“In the first stint I saw how quickly a dry line had formed and then it was clear to me that we would switch to slicks immediately. Of course it wasn’t easy on the outlap with the hard tires, but it was right decision.”

Sainz wanted to do it like Hamilton did in 2016

This scenario was also discussed at Ferrari before the race, as Lewis Hamilton was able to win the Monaco race with this strategy in 2016. However, the Briton only won the race because of Daniel Ricciardo’s botched Red Bull pit stop.

“The team let me know as soon as everyone else switched to intermediates. But it was clear to me that we shouldn’t do that because the track wasn’t far from slick conditions,” said the second-placed driver.

For Sainz it was more important to keep the position on the track: “We all know how difficult it is to overtake in Monaco, so we wanted to save that one pit stop because I knew it would be time for slicks, before Checo catches up with me.”

Should Sainz have come in a lap earlier?

Although he is certain that his first Formula 1 victory slipped out of his hands in the Principality, Sainz remains relatively composed: “I don’t want to complain too much, because that’s the sport sometimes. Checo was unlucky in Jeddah, for example , but he had a great race today with a bit of luck.”

“Sooner or later the tide will turn again in this sport,” said Sainz with certainty. “Maybe we wouldn’t have had any traffic if we had come in a lap earlier or later. But it’s difficult to predict in the rain because you have to consider that both the exit and entrance to the pits were still very wet.”

“So it was difficult for the team to calculate where we would end up on the track after the tire change,” explains Sainz. At the end of the race, the Spaniard still had a chance of winning, as Perez in front of him had major problems with the grain of his medium tire.

Sainz confident: Overtaking Perez was “impossible”

“I had some graining myself, especially on the rear tires. So it was difficult for me to stay in the tunnel to maybe overtake him,” says Sainz. “Some times I was very late to attack, but it was still quite wet on the inside of the track and Checo braked very late.”

“I think that if I had braked later, I would have put both of us out of the race,” he explains. “It was tempting to attempt an overtake in a few other places, but realistically, with these wide cars, the narrow track and the still slightly damp track, it was impossible. I did everything I could.”

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