Motor racing-First F1 win comes as a relief to Sainz

Formula One F1 - British Grand Prix - Silverstone Circuit, Silverstone, Britain - July 3, 2022 Ferrari's Carlos Sainz Jr. celebrates on the podium after winning the race REUTERS/Molly Darlington

LONDON (Reuters) - Ferrari's Carlos Sainz said he was relieved and ready for more success after celebrating his first Formula One win at Silverstone.

The Spaniard finally stood on top of the podium after his 150th start, becoming Formula One's 112th winner and the 40th driver to triumph for the sport's oldest and most successful team.

Sainz, who also started Sunday's race from pole position for the first time, was only his country's second driver to win a grand prix after double world champion Fernando Alonso.

"I think a first win is always a bit of a relief. I'm not going to lie," he told reporters. "Because there you have it, you have a win in Formula One.

"I'm going to keep fighting for more, you know, I'm going to keep improving myself with this car, and I'm going to try and make it happen."

Sainz, 27, is already on his fourth team after starting out at Red Bull's Toro Rosso (now AlphaTauri), moving to Renault (now Alpine), McLaren and then Ferrari.

The son of double world rally champion Carlos Sainz, he has never stopped believing.

"In Monaco, I could have won... in Canada it was super close," he said of two of three races where he has finished second this season.

"It was about time that something just happened in a race that you can win.

"If there's something this sport has taught me, it's keep believing."

Sainz won on Sunday despite moving over earlier for team mate Charles Leclerc and also being overtaken by Red Bull's championship leader Max Verstappen.

"I was destroying so much my front tyre that it made total sense for Charles to go through and I let him by as soon as the team told me to do so. First order, I react. I've always been a team player," he said.

"I will always be a team player and especially in Ferrari. I know the team is in front of and above my personal interests."

Verstappen's challenge faded with a damaged car and Leclerc's race was undone by Ferrari's strategy, keeping him out on worn tyres while Sainz pitted during a safety car period for fresh ones.

In the end, circumstances were on Sainz's side. Told to lift and coast to save fuel, the safety car period allowed him to save enough to be able to push until the end.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Clare Fallon)

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