Carlos Sainz admits he is finding the 2022 Ferrari tougher to drive than Charles Leclerc and admires how well his teammate is performing in it.
Leclerc has taken four pole positions and won twice so far this season, with a third victory slipping through his fingers when he was forced to retire from the lead due to reliability issues in the Spanish Grand Prix. Sainz, on the other hand, qualified third and dropped out of the points-paying positions when he spun off early on. He recovered to finish fourth but still sits 39 points adrift of his teammate.
“I keep the positivity and the motivation to turn things around as soon as possible,” Sainz said. “It’s not been easy. You can probably see from the onboards and from the mistakes that I’m struggling quite a bit to drive this car and to understand how to extract the maximum out of it.
“It has given me a whole new challenge in my Formula 1 career and I’m having to think outside the box, drive outside the box, and with this comes mistakes, comes learning things that I’m having to learn.
“There’s been a combination of misfortune and mistakes from my side, which also counts, but I think in the future it’s going to turn all of a sudden or it’s going to turn little by little and I just need to keep my head down.
“It’s very specific, it’s a lot of detail — probably just too much to put into an interview or put into words because I think it also deserves some privacy and team confidentiality. I think you can see from the cameras that I’m not there yet with the car compared to last year, that I’m not driving naturally, that the car is a bit too pointy for my liking but that’s it, it is the way it goes. You can either adapt yourself or you can bring your car a bit more to your liking.
“Anyway these two things take time and take knowledge and experience. It takes mistakes and trial and error. This is what I’m in the process of now, and what I’m going to try and correct as soon as possible.
“At the same time, [you] have a guy who’s doing an excellent job like Charles is with this car. He is driving at a very high level, he is putting together super-impressive lap times — an impressive way of driving and I can only admire and try in some ways to copy and in others try to put it a bit more to my liking to be faster.
“That’s it. Sometimes it goes like this and as a driver you just have to go through a process and challenge yourself.”
Despite his struggles, Sainz says he feels he can deliver in Monaco, having been close to both pole position and victory there last season.
“Monaco, yes I always feel confident, I always feel fast around there… but you also need confidence in the car and a balance that you like around Monaco, and until I get there and feel the car and see how the car is behaving there, I cannot tell you exactly what’s going to happen. But I will go into the weekend like always, motivated and thinking like I can win. For sure it’s not going to change.”