Carlos Sainz: Ferrari mistakes are judged harder than at any other team

Michelle Foster
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.

In a season when Ferrari have dropped the ball once too often, Carlos Sainz says they are judged more harshly than any other team on the grid.

But that, he concedes, is part of racing for Ferrari.

Ferrari’s title challenge imploded in the run-up to the summer break. Charles Leclerc and Sainz can no longer mathematically win the title through their own performances – they need Max Verstappen to drop big points.

That seems unlikely based on recent performances as instead of Verstappen being tripped up, it has been Ferrari.

The Tifosi had hoped, fingers crossed, Ferrari would have left their mistakes behind them with the summer break but instead it was more of the same at the Belgian Grand Prix.

Leclerc was put on the wrong set of tyres in Q3, which meant he did not have a fresh set when he tried to go for the fastest-lap point late in the grand prix in a bid to take at least one point off race winner Verstappen.

He also lost fifth place to Fernando Alonso in that last stop but was able to recover it, only to again lose it when he was slapped with a five-second penalty for speeding in the pit lane.

It was another two points lost.

Sainz, though, feels the criticism of Ferrari’s strategist is not entirely fair as they have also made some good calls this season.

“There have been a lot of times during the year when we’ve done the right calls and nobody has come to us to say ‘oh, you did the right call’ or congratulate us for that,” he said.

“On the other hand, when there have been two or three, let’s say call them bad calls with hindsight, there has been massive criticism about it.

“And I find that a bit tougher at Ferrari.

“I feel like when I was at McLaren, or Toro Rosso or Renault, when there was a big mistake on strategy nobody would come and point it out and criticise you and put you down to earth as much as they do at Ferrari.

“This is a fact I think everyone can agree with. At Ferrari, everything seems bigger. The victory is bigger, the mistake is bigger. And it’s just like that, it’s something I’m adapting myself to. It’s something I need to learn how to react better to in the situations.”

A staredown between Ferrari drivers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz at the Red Bull Ring. Austria, July 2022.

The Spaniard acknowledges there is room for improvement, saying Ferrari analyse all the decisions made in their post-race debriefs.

“I think it’s very difficult to generalise about where we should have been more brave or more cautious,” he added. “I think you would need to pick one by one and analyse them independently.

“And I’m pretty sure one by one, every result or every conclusion would be different. Here maybe we could have been a bit more gutsy, here we could have played a bit more safe.

“For me, it’s all about continuous improvement and continuously finding ways to make the right calls at the right time.”