Carlos Sainz lost his second place position to Max Verstappen early in the race, but then rode comfortably in third place until the middle of the race. From the outside it looked like Sainz was struggling with his balance on the toughest compound, but he himself later explained that it was mainly his physical condition. After a setback in Friday training on the new track, he was no longer quite fit, even after the early retirements in Melbourne and Imola. Sainz rode a full Grand Prix distance for the first time since the Saudi Arabian GP.
“There were no balance issues,” Sainz said when asked how things were going in Miami. “It was difficult to find a good balance, we couldn’t keep up with Max and the Red Bull. But personally I didn’t feel 100 percent at the end of the stint on Medium. In the last five laps I got tired, I felt my neck and I couldn’t push 100 percent after the crash on Friday. I won’t use it as an excuse, maybe it’s because I didn’t finish the last two races. That affects the neck and body of these F1 cars. I haven’t run a full race distance for a month. That, along with the crash on Friday, probably prevented me from pushing to the safety car.”
Finishing the race was ‘necessary’
Although Sainz wasn’t entirely fresh during the race, it’s important that he saw the checkered flag again. “It’s not really a relief, but it’s urgently needed,” continued the Madrilenian. “I think I had to drive a full distance to get my body back into shape but also to get used to the tires and the full fuel car. I made a few mistakes during the race just because I was testing myself. The important thing is that we completed a complete race. In some moments I was quite fast and also the fights, the feeling in a duel with Checo, you know what to do with the battery and the tyres. I have learned from it and I know what needs to be done in the future.”