Round 21 of the season, Sao Paulo Grand Prix is taking place at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. Max Verstappen of Oracle Red Bull Racing, supported by Honda as a Team Partner, won and Sergio Perez was 3rd.
Scuderia AlphaTauri's Yuki Tsunoda was 6th and Daniel Ricciardo was 9th.
The start was key for us today: it was good to get the lead into turn one and it was important to keep the first few laps under control. Tyre management is incredibly difficult here because of the high degradation and I really had to look after them right from the beginning of the race. You can’t go flat out as it is a very long stint on the tyres, so you do need to pick your moments. Ultimately, I am happy with how we managed the tyres and we have had some successful Sprint races this year, which is positive. We will all learn a lot from today. Lando was also very close to me for the duration of the race so I expect it will be an even closer result tomorrow.
It is definitely a good result, but I would have liked to have had a better start and have been in contention for first. We had a terrible start and first lap, losing position to both Mercedes so that meant things were not as we wanted, we had to push hard and I had to make use of my tyres early on, so I ended up paying the price later on in the race. Tomorrow is the main race, and everyone is going to learn from the Sprint, we expect a very high tyre deg, so everything is going to suffer, the engine, the brakes… It will be all about looking after the tyres, it will be a long race with a lot of competition but the race pace of the car should be good and the podium is my target.
First of all, a big congrats to the team! Yesterday wasn’t our day, but together, we made a big comeback today. Qualifying P16 yesterday for the Grand Prix and P6 today for the Sprint race shows a big step in the right direction. The car was fun to drive, but we have to understand why there was such a difference between yesterday and today. There were a couple of places where I could improve my driving, and I think the last lap in SQ3 was my best lap so far, which allowed me to start in a good position for the Sprint race. We maximised our opportunity, finishing P6, which is the highest position so far this season. With a couple more laps, I might’ve been able to fight for P5 with Leclerc ahead of us. I’m happy with my race craft today, and the pace the car had, especially in the race, was strong. Daniel also had good pace, so it was a big team effort. Well done to the team because, without their hard work, I wouldn’t have been in that position. Now I’m looking forward to racing again tomorrow. We’re in a good rhythm now, so we’ll build on it and bring even more performance into tomorrow. It won’t be easy because we’re starting further back, but we know our car is good, so we’ll overtake as much as possible, with points being possible.
Today felt a lot better, and what I felt was possible yesterday. Looking back, my qualifying lap yesterday was mostly my fault because I didn’t make it count when it needed to. On the medium tyre, especially in SQ2, it was going really well, and I was very happy with that lap. On the soft compound, I struggled in Turn 1 and 2 again, though not as much as yesterday, and I was a little disappointed with my final lap. As a team, P6 and P8 is a good result for us.
The Sprint race certainly wasn’t boring. On one hand, it was nice to be in a battle, and I had fun out there, but I’m also really frustrated. As we showed this morning by having both cars in the top 8, we definitely had the pace to score points, so congratulations to Yuki who did. Every time I passed Carlos in Turn 1, he overtook me with the DRS afterwards. I'm also frustrated with myself for leaving the door open to Oscar, who passed me in Turn 8. Strategically, I can perform better moves tomorrow. Some things changed throughout the race, probably also because of the asphalt we have here, but I think I did well by adapting my driving style mid-race. In fact, we gained a lot from Carlos (Sainz) during the last couple of laps. Unfortunately, by the chequered flag, we were still behind by a couple tenths. Looking at the positive, I think it’s exciting to see the forward steps we've taken with the car. I also learnt some things during the race, and I'll keep them in my back pocket for tomorrow. We’ll watch the replays and figure out how to plan my overtakes better, trying to find a bit more clear air and use that pace.