Ferrari boss defends Carlos Sainz after Ralf Schumacher’s ‘embarrassing’ comment

Sam Cooper
Carlos Sainz looks into the distance as Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc lurks in the background at the Austrian Grand Prix. Styria, July 2023.

Carlos Sainz looks into the distance as Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc lurks in the background at the 2023 Austrian Grand Prix.

Ferrari boss Fred Vasseur has defended Carlos Sainz after the Spaniard came in for some criticism from Ralf Schumacher.

Sainz was the unfortunate victim in one of the most impressive overtaking moments of the British Grand Prix as both Sergio Perez and Alex Albon passed the Ferrari in the space of a couple corners.

As such, Schumacher said it “was almost embarrassing” for Sainz who “was completely off the mark” in his efforts to defend.

Vasseur has defended his driver though and suggested that the track was so dirty at that point in the race that even putting a wheel over the line could be fatal.

“I think he was struggling with Perez at that stage,” Vasseur said, as per the German edition of Motorsport.com. “And when Perez passed him, he went quite far. At the end of the race it was dirty everywhere and as soon as you place a wheel there outside the line, you’re almost dead.”

“I think the pace was there in the end. He and [Charles] Leclerc were faster than them, faster than [Fernando] Alonso and Albon, but once you’re in the DRS train it’s also very difficult to overtake.

Sainz also had another issue on his hands which was protecting the tyre with the SF-23 proving particularly poor in that regard. Vassuer said it was hard to tell if a driver is holding back but believes if Sainz was, it was the correct decision given his attempts to keep the tyres alive.

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“The main focus is on the condition of the tyres because you can do all the simulations in the world and we do that in parallel.

“However, in this phase of the race it is difficult to assess whether the driver is pushing a lot with regard to the lap time or not. You are probably holding back. But I think it was the right decision for Carlos.”

It was not a great weekend for Ferrari who finished ninth and 10th in the race. The three points added means they are now 46 behind P2 Mercedes while Sainz is in fifth place.

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