'We are not a disaster' – Sainz defends Ferrari strategy after missing out on podium in France

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Carlos Sainz has defended Ferrari's strategy after a late pit stop cost the Spaniard a potential podium finish at the French Grand Prix.

Ferrari endured a frustrating outing at Le Castellet as Red Bull stretched their lead at the top of Formula One's constructors' standings to 82 points.

With Charles Leclerc crashing out of the race for his third retirement of the season when in a leading position, Red Bull's Max Verstappen was followed onto the podium by Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.

Sainz had just overtaken Sergio Perez to assume third place when Ferrari took the decision to call the 27-year-old in for a late pit stop, after which he finished in fifth, his worst performance of the campaign, excluding retirements.

Ferrari chief Mattia Binotto defended the decision after the race, insisting Sainz would have struggled to maintain his pace without new tyres, and the Spaniard has offered his support for the team's overall strategy.

"I think the team is doing a very good job on strategy this year," Sainz told Sky Sports.

"At Ferrari we get super criticised for things that other teams might be going through also in their pit stop windows.

"Every time there is a tricky moment on strategy, we are discussing things, but we are not a disaster like people seem to say we are."

While Sainz added he would have liked the opportunity to stay out and challenge the leaders after surging from the back row of the grid, he insisted he trusts his team's ability to weigh up the data and make decisive calls.

"We like to discuss things, we are open about them," Sainz added. "Yes, I was in the middle of an overtake, but the team believed that was the right lap to stop and come back through the field.

"I believed at the time that maybe it was better to risk it and stay out and see what happens with the tyres, even if it was the medium tyre on the limit of its life, but I had just made it to P3 and I saw a podium position.

"I thought, 'if I make these tyres last, maybe I can finish on the podium', but we will never know.

"The team has a lot more data on the computer, they have a lot more numbers to go through, and if they took that decision, I'm 100 per cent convinced that they did it with the best of intentions and the best spirit.

"We need to keep progressing, and we need to analyse everything and see how we can be better, but I'm convinced the team is doing a good job."

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