Scuderia Ferrari Spanish driver has confirmed that he felt more comfortable in his F1-75 car during the last round of the 2022 Formula 1 season, the Canadian Grand Prix at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, adding that he was finally able to “push flat out without any fear of losing the car”.
The Spaniard had a difficult start to the current F1 campaign, unlike his Maranello teammate Charles Leclerc, who was able to score two race wins in the first three rounds of the championship. Carlos Sainz has not been able to get the most out of the fast F1-75 car designed by the Italian side based on the new rules and regulations.
Three DNFs in Saudi Arabia, Imola and Azerbaijan made the Spaniard lose ground to Charles Leclerc and the Red Bull drivers in the standings, but most importantly limited his track time and therefore prevented him from gaining momentum. Things looked different last Sunday, as the Ferrari driver proved to be the fastest man at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal. Despite the solid performance and the good feeling behind the wheel of the F1-75 car, the Spaniard still had to settle for second place in Canada and was was disappointed to lose out to Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who was able to defend in the last 15 laps and keep his P1.
Carlos therefore continue his wait for a first Formula 1 victory, but he admitted that the Canadian weekend can be seen as a step forward for him as he feels more comfortable pushing the F1-75 to its limits, adding he “didn’t leave an inch to the walls” trying to overtake the Red Bull of Max Verstappen.
The Ferrari driver was then asked if he believes he can fight against the Red Bull drivers and his Maranello teammate each weekend:
“Well, I hope so, but as I said a few races ago, I want to take it a bit more race by race, you know, not thinking too much about the championship or anything like that. I really want to focus in getting to a track and see if I can get myself in a good window of performance and comfort inside the car. I think this weekend I did that, right since FP1 I looked very quick, both in qualifying and race pace. In the race I was pushing flat out without any fear of losing the car, like I had, for example, in Barcelona. Some good progress being made; we’ve changed a bit of things on the car to try and make it a bit more to my liking, and they seem to be working. But at the same time, I think I need more circuits, I need more different kinds of corners to have a proper feel for that.” – he explained.
Scuderia Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto feels Carlos Sainz has proven that he can challenge for the race victories each weekend and admitted it was important for him to show the Maranello team can rely on his in the duel with Red Bull for the constructors’ title.
“It has been a very good race and I think race by race he’s gaining confidence, improving his driving and being faster and faster and he is happy, he’s more relaxed. I’m pretty sure that he will prove in the next races now that he is a contender as well, for the win on a single race. I’m pretty happy the way he drove and it’s important for us as the Scuderia that we can count on him as well, to know that he can be very fast.” – the Ferrari boss added.
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Mattia Binotto pinpoints qualifying as an area for Carlos Sainz to improve, as he started the Canadian Grand Prix from third place behind Max Verstappen and Alpine’s Fernando Alonso, which in the end proved decisive for the outcome of the race. Not taking into consideration the race in Canada, given that Charles Leclerc had to start from the back due to a grid penalty, Carlos Sainz did not manage to start ahead of Charles Leclerc in every qualifying session this season:
“To win with such a close fight with Red Bull and Max, you need to be perfect on the entire weekend. And if anything, maybe the qualifying was not perfect from Carlos. That cost him a bit maybe because being ahead or chasing certainly it’s a different matter.” – Mattia Binotto concluded.