Carlos Sainz ‘messing everything up at Ferrari’ after ‘political’ Lewis Hamilton play

Jamie Woodhouse
Carlos Sainz and Lewis Hamilton with a Ferrari badge.

Carlos Sainz and Lewis Hamilton with a Ferrari badge.

Former F1 driver Christian Danner believes Carlos Sainz is now “messing everything up at Ferrari” with his impressive F1 2024 form.

Ferrari confirmed the signature of Lewis Hamilton ahead of the F1 2024 campaign, that move taking effect from 2025, with Sainz the driver pushed aside to make space for the seven-time World Champion. However, Sainz is causing questions to be asked of this Ferrari decision.

Carlos Sainz proving Ferrari ‘wrong’ on Lewis Hamilton

Sainz completed the podium at the opening race in Bahrain and after missing the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix due to undergoing appendix surgery, Sainz returned to claim a dominant Australian GP victory.

And with Hamilton having made a poor start to his final season with Mercedes, finishing no higher than P7 across those opening three rounds, Danner believes Sainz is making a serious mess of how Ferrari planned for this to go.

“At the moment, Carlos Sainz is messing everything up at Ferrari,” Danner told Motorsport-Magazin.com.

“’Firstly, you’ve signed the wrong driver for next year. Hamilton is lagging behind, I’m much better. Secondly, if you want Hamilton, you’ve kept the wrong one because I’m faster’.”

To that point, Sainz has had the beating of team-mate Charles Leclerc – who Ferrari signed to a new multi-year deal ahead of announcing Hamilton – in both races they have contested together so far in F1 2024, as Danner stressed that Leclerc is being made to look bad in this situation too.

“If I, as a future number one driver, am blown away by the fired driver, that’s difficult,” said Danner.

“Sainz goes at it with a commitment, a joy and an aggressiveness that I really like!

“It also requires a fervent attitude: ‘Now it’s me and nobody else’. You can see that not only in his eyes, but in every corner.”

Describing Ferrari’s swoop for Hamilton as “highly political”, Danner believes that Sainz is proving to team boss Fred Vasseur that he went too early in pulling the trigger on that Hamilton move.

Hamilton and Vasseur are no strangers to working together, Hamilton having won the GP2 title with Vasseur’s ART Grand Prix team in 2006.

“He should have waited a little longer,” Danner feels. “It wasn’t a need.”

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Hamilton is having team-mate struggles of his own this season, George Russell having established firm control of that intra-team battle with a 3-0 qualifying record against Hamilton, while in the races it is 2-0 after neither Mercedes driver saw the chequered flag in Australia.

This has led some to question whether Ferrari are signing a Lewis Hamilton now in decline, though Danner does not believe that is the case, rather brutally comparing him to the struggling Daniel Ricciardo at RB to suggest that Hamilton is not in that same scenario.

“Lewis has really taken the Mercedes plague on his side,” Danner believes. “It’s not as if he’s suddenly fallen behind like Ricciardo.

“I wouldn’t blame Lewis for stumbling at the moment. But one thing is clear: Sainz is in such a form – when he has Leclerc under control like that – you can say that Fred Vasseur may have decided too early.”

Sainz is yet to secure a place on the 2025 grid, though is being linked with the likes of Mercedes, Red Bull and Sauber (to become Audi from 2026).

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