Sainz not expecting to win Italian GP

Carlos Sainz is not really expecting to break Red Bull’s total winning streak in 2023 despite securing pole for the Italian GP.

The Spaniard thrilled Ferrari’s legions of fans at Maranello with his impressive one-lap pace at Monza, but dominant championship leader Max Verstappen admitted he was “not really surprised”.

“They were also quick last year,” said the Red Bull driver.

“Also, when look at their rear wing, it seems like it’s quite well optimised for Monza where I think our wing – especially for one lap – is maybe not the best optimisation.

“But for the race it should be better,” Verstappen, who shares the front row with Sainz, added.

Sainz regretfully had to agree with Verstappen’s assessment.

“I’m not going to lie,” he said. “From what I’ve seen through the long runs, it’s trickier for us. “Not the same picture as in quali.

“That Red Bull, as soon as you put five or six laps on the tyre, it’s where we see the race pace that we’ve seen all year.

“Looking back at this year, in 100 percent of the races, they’ve been quicker – and they’ve been clearly quicker. No?” Sainz added.

Indeed, Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko also played down the significance of Ferrari’s surprise pole – with the sister car of Charles Leclerc in third place.

“The first row is fine,” Marko told ORF. “Our strength is actually the race.

“But for the atmosphere here in Italy, it’s an ideal result,” he smiled. “But we weren’t necessarily going for pole position with the setup.

“With these positions, we are tactically very well positioned. The setup for the race is much more important.

“We have already won this year from very bad starting positions so we are optimistic for the race,” 80-year-old Austrian Marko added.

He even said he is not disappointed with Sergio Perez’s fifth on the grid.

“Three and a half tenths behind is completely ok,” said Marko. “Nobody else would be that close to Max.”

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