Carlos Sainz reveals what ‘scares me most’ about Max Verstappen

Henry Valantine
Carlos Sainz, Ferrari, battles Max Verstappen, Red Bull at Monza.

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari, battles Max Verstappen, Red Bull.

Carlos Sainz believes the scariest element of Max Verstappen’s record-breaking 2023 season was that he did not need to race at “100 per cent” in every round.

Verstappen took a record 19 race wins in 22 races and scored 575 points in the process in 2023, finishing with more than twice the tally of team-mate and nearest rival Sergio Perez come season’s end.

Sainz was the only non-Red Bull driver to win a race all season, in Singapore, but believes Ferrari need to find a significant amount of time to challenge in 2024.

Carlos Sainz reveals part of Max Verstappen’s season that ‘scares me most of all’

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner admitted himself at the end of the season that Verstappen could have finished significantly further up the road than he already did in some of the early rounds of the season, but the rate of progress throughout the field made taking it easy more difficult to do for Red Bull.

The margins of victory still looked all too easy from the outside for Verstappen at some races however, the combination of the Dutchman and the RB19 proving irresistible on his way to a third consecutive World Championship.

Sainz admitted his belief that Ferrari went in the “wrong direction” with their car as early as the middle of 2022, with a big task on their hands to catch Verstappen and Red Bull from next season onwards with the stability in Formula 1’s regulations. recommends

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Speaking at a pre-Christmas sponsor event on behalf of Estrella Galicia in Madrid, Sainz said: “I believe Max has not needed to go 100 per cent in all the races, and that is what scares me most of all.

“That’s why I tell Ferrari that we do not need to improve four [tenths], but six. We have to see why in the race we are missing that little step.

“On Saturday we see that we are not that far away, but later in the race they have three tenths or half a second per lap that becomes 30 seconds at the finish line.

“I think we made the mistake of going in the wrong direction that the mid-2022 car showed us.

“We thought we were not that far away. It also happened to Mercedes.”

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