Sainz admits Drivers’ title hopes effectively over

Henry Valantine
Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz is interviewed. Baku June 2022.

Carlos Sainz speaks to the media after an early retirement from the race. Baku June 2022.

Carlos Sainz admitted he is not currently thinking about winning the title this year, saying that “maybe I made a few mistakes too many” in the early part of the season.

Sainz has had three retirements in the first eight races of 2022, spinning into the gravel in both Australia and Imola to leave him well behind the front-runners in the Drivers’ Championship fight.

His latest DNF came in Baku after a hydraulic failure stopped him early on, and he now sits 67 points behind Max Verstappen at the top heading into the Canadian Grand Prix weekend.

Given the deficit he now has to make up for the remainder of the season, he admitted that he had perhaps tried too hard to get to the front of the field in the early rounds, which may have forced the errors that dropped him out of title contention for now.

“No, not really, in that sense my approach has changed a bit because it’s true that with the DNFs I got far behind in the World Championship,” Sainz told MARCA when asked if he still thinks about fighting for the championship.

“They hurt, and from that point I preferred not to think about the championship. Also because I saw that I wasn’t comfortable enough with the car to go for pole positions and victories and maybe the impetus to win and take pole positions also meant that maybe I made a few mistakes too many.”

Sainz out-scored team-mate Charles Leclerc last season, but he is currently lagging behind his Ferrari colleague – who has taken six pole positions out of eight so far.

The Spaniard said he will still go for any opportunity he can get to win races this year, but admitted he will need patience to fully get on top of his car in Formula 1’s new era.

“My strength has always been my consistency and knowing how to wait for my moments, my end of the year, which has always been very good, so I think I have to be a bit more patient this year and wait until I feel a bit more comfortable with the car, a bit more at 100 percent to go on the attack,” he elaborated.

“Of course, if I feel comfortable like in Monaco, I will go for it because there I could win without the blue flag, but I think you have to adjust the objectives and the risk for the feeling with the car.”