Carlos Sainz calls for Ferrari to ‘keep digging’ as Red Bull open huge gap

Jamie Woodhouse
Carlos Sainz of Ferrari during drivers parade, pulling a face. Hungary July 2022

Spanish driver Carlos Sainz of Ferrari during drivers parade, pulling a face. Hungary July 2022

Although happy to be starting from pole in Belgium, Carlos Sainz is rightly concerned with the big performance gap to Max Verstappen.

A host of grid penalties at Spa meant that once qualifying came to an end, not one driver was in their grid slot for the race.

Verstappen is one of the drivers with a ‘back-of-the-grid’ penalty after taking a new power unit, but judging by the advantage which he held over the chasing pack, the Dutchman is probably still a favourite to win the Belgian Grand Prix.

Come the end of the Q3 action, Verstappen’s session-topping time was over six-tenths up on Sainz’s best efforts.



The Spaniard then, understandably, warns that Ferrari have work to do after encountering their biggest deficit to Red Bull so far this season.

“It was okay, I mean, I’m happy to be starting on pole,” Sainz told Sky Sports F1.

“Obviously, I’m not so happy to see the gap to Max this weekend and the gap that Red Bull has on us.

“We need to keep digging to see why Red Bull is so fast around this track and why we are trailing them. To start from pole is a good place to start and we will try and win from there tomorrow.”

Ferrari tried to give Sainz a helping hand by sending Charles Leclerc out in the closing moments of Q3, tasked with providing the tow to Sainz down the Kemmel Straight. Leclerc was also carrying a grid penalty and so was not a contender for pole.

Sainz though admits that it was not very well executed, with the Spaniard forced to lift on the approach to Eau Rouge.

“My Q3 run one was cleaner,” Sainz confirmed. “The outlap was a bit of a mess, playing with the tow, see who wanted to lead.

“In the end I had to lead and I had no tow and I had to take the lead there, but in the end it was a bit of a mess and the first lap was good enough for P2, which I knew was going to give me the pole.

“But yeah, still a bit puzzled to see this big gap to Max and to see the big gap to Red Bull, which makes me wonder what’s going to happen tomorrow in the race, because I think our race pace has been better than our qualy pace, but there’s definitely something there to find.”

Verstappen, after all the penalties are applied, will start the Belgian Grand Prix from P15.

And looking ahead to a possible finishing position, Verstappen said it would be a “shame” if he cannot make it onto the podium in that rapid RB18.

Asked how he approaches the race, Verstappen replied: “We need to move forward, I think especially with a car like this, it would be a shame not to be on the podium.”

It will be Sergio Perez in the other Red Bull then who shares the second row with Sainz, the Mexican racer feeling that the start will be key to how his race plays out.

“P2 is not the worst place to be around here,” he said, “and I think if I’m able to get a good run through Carlos it can be different, I can be on the other side of the road.

“It will be very important to get a good start and try to do our own race from the beginning and I think that will be the key for tomorrow.”