Carlos Sainz says Ferrari are not scratching their heads about why their pace has dropped off at the Mexican Grand Prix.
The Scuderia’s most consistent aspect of their season has been qualifying, but that performance deserted them at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.
Although it had looked like being a three-team shootout for pole position between Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes, there were only ever the latter two really in it as Max Verstappen held off George Russell and Lewis Hamilton.
Sainz will line up fifth behind Sergio Perez in the second Red Bull and more disconcertingly for the Italian giants, Charles Leclerc was outpaced by sixth-placed Valtteri Bottas in the Alfa Romeo and starts seventh.
But the Spaniard gave the impression there was no mystery on Ferrari’s side about why they had been struggling in comparison to their usual rivals.
— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) October 29, 2022
Leclerc had suggested in an interview he had a lot of “unanswered questions” but in response to that, Sainz told Sky F1: “I think we know, as a team, why we are slow this weekend.
“We know which compromises we need to take. We know the numbers, we know why we are not as fast as we would like.
“But at the same time, I must say the car was a bit trickier to drive than I expected, or trickier to drive compared to other weekends, and we need to find out why.
“The altitude shouldn’t affect us. It should be more the ride and how we were on the kerbs. Today we were suffering out there.”
Expanding on the kerbs issue, Sainz added: “We were fighting it a bit too much. I must say the car was really difficult to drive over the kerbs and bumps, which meant it was very difficult to put a lap together.
“I think if I put my sectors together, the performance was there to be in the top three with a 1:18.0. But when the car is so tricky around here with the little grip there is, to put that lap together is very difficult.
“But it’s how it is, we know the compromises we needed to take this weekend and I cannot be too disappointed with the job we’ve done this weekend.”
Sainz and Leclerc now both have their work cut out to finish on the podium, let alone give Ferrari a fifth win of the season at round 20 of the 2022 World Championship.