Ferrari's Sainz gets podium boost ahead of return to Spain

Ferrari's Carlos Sainz is hoping that Sunday's podium finish in Miami marks a turning point in his fortunes ahead of his home Grand Prix in Spain later this month.

Third placed Ferrari's Carlos Sainz Jr. celebrates on the podium with a helmet at the Miami Grand Prix.   -  Reuters

Ferrari's Carlos Sainz is hoping that Sunday's podium finish in Miami marks a turning point in his fortunes ahead of his home Grand Prix in Spain later this month.

Sainz finished third in the inaugural Miami Grand Prix, behind winner Max Verstappen of Red Bull and second-placed Ferrari team mate Charles Leclerc.

Sainz was still dealing with some neck pain during the race after being shaken up by a crash into the wall in Friday's practice.

That incident followed a crash with Australian Daniel Ricciardo at Imola which ended his race on the first lap, the Spaniard's second successive retirement.

In Australia two weeks earlier he had beached his car in the gravel on the second lap, and Sainz also crashed in sprint qualifying at Imola.

"Obviously, I'm coming back from a pretty heavy crash on Friday. So, I wasn't feeling 100%t today, but maybe also the fact that I haven't done the last two races, so also, the neck feels that," said the Spaniard.

Verstappen beats Leclerc to win first Miami Grand Prix  

"It’s a combination of those two things that maybe I was paying a bit the price and at some stages of the race I couldn't push 100%."

Sainz will be looking to be the first Spaniard and first Ferrari driver to win the Spanish Grand Prix since Fernando Alonso in 2013 and he said it was vital to have got a full race under his belt.

"It’s needed. I think I needed to complete a race distance, to get the body back to shape, and also get the feel for the car on used tyres, high fuel," he said.

"I was still doing a couple of mistakes out there during the race, just because I was trying the car and trying myself out there.

"I think I needed a race like this to reset a bit and build on it for the upcoming races. Up next is my home GP and we’ll make sure we get there in the very best (shape)," he said.

First points for Schumacher vanish after Vettel crash

Mick Schumacher's chances of scoring his first points in Formula One evaporated in the Miami heat on Sunday after he collided with his mentor Sebastian Vettel with just four full laps of the Grand Prix remaining.

The 23-year-old German, who went through his debut season for Haas last year without picking up a point, was challenging Esteban Ocan for ninth spot on lap 53.

But the incident with Vettel left Schumacher needing to stop for a new wing and he ended up frustrated in 15th place.

The stewards ruled that neither driver was to blame for the collision and unsurprisingly, given their close relationship, there was no finger pointing from the drivers.

Mercedes left with no illusions after latest disappointment  

“Obviously a shame that we made contact and both of us out of the race, out of the points," said Vettel, who was put out of the race by the crash.

"I’m disappointed for Mick and myself obviously that the two of us lost a good opportunity to score points today.

“I don’t know, I did not expect him, I need to have a look again. When I saw him, it was obviously too late, so we made contact," said the Aston Martin driver.

Schumacher's father, seven-times world champion Michael, was Vettel's boyhood hero and took him under his wing early in his career.

Schumacher senior has not appeared in public since he suffered severe head injuries in a skiing accident in the French Alps in December 2013.

Vettel has taken on the role of offering advice and a helping hand to Mick Schumacher, who was not surprised there was no hostility in Vettel's reaction to the incident.

“No, the same from my side," he said, "It’s nice that I can learn from him, he’s so valuable to me as a friend, so yeah, we’ll see. Obviously we’re all racers.

“Obviously, it’s hard to say and hard to judge from inside the car.

“So, I have to wait and see how it looks from the outside. But I’m sure it will also be good for me to see what Seb thinks about it. We’ll just have to move on from here.”

Schumacher still managed to take some encouragement from his performance where had looked well placed for a top 10 finish.

"I think the pace was there," he said. "It all was looking good but unfortunately the last few laps were a bit chaotic.”

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