Binotto not making ‘big deal’ of Sainz’s struggles

Jamie Woodhouse
Carlos Sainz in his Ferrari, without race suit or helmet. Netherlands, September 2021.

Carlos Sainz sits in the cockpit of his Ferrari without his race suit or helmet. Netherlands, September 2021.

Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto is keen not to overreact to Carlos Sainz’s frustrating lack of pace at the Dutch Grand Prix.

Usually a vibrant character in the paddock, Sainz was anything but after crossing the line P7 at Zandvoort.

Rather than being happy with his points finish, the Spaniard instead said he had never felt so slow in a race before, urging Ferrari to find answers before their upcoming home race, the Italian Grand Prix.

Binotto, though, feels a “big deal” should not be made of Sainz’s issues, suggesting his lack of pace and struggles with tyre graining may have been down to lost track time earlier in the race weekend.

The Spaniard had crashed out during FP3 on Saturday.

“Yes, it’s true. Now we will watch the telemetry data, we will control the set-up,” Binotto told Sky Italia of Sainz’s struggles.

“Sometimes it’s just small differences to generate a bit more or less tyre wear. He wasn’t completely at ease – let’s not forget he lost FP3, he lost useful moments on track ahead of qualifying and the race.

“So I wouldn’t make it a big deal, his race was solid too. It’s a pity for the last lap [when he was passed by Fernando Alonso]. Now we will see why we had these differences.”

Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, at the Dutch GP start. September 2021.
Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, Ferrari, head the midfield pack at the start of the Dutch GP. September 2021.

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It was a double points finish for Ferrari at Zandvoort as Charles Leclerc claimed P5 on a weekend when the Scuderia stretched their advantage in P3 in the Constructors’ Championship to 11.5 points over McLaren.

Leclerc too though was not overly satisfied with his race, disappointed not to have found a way past Pierre Gasly for P4, but Binotto reflects on the Dutch Grand Prix with positivity.

Especially considering how demanding Zandvoort was on the tyres, giving Binotto flashbacks to Ferrari’s woeful showing earlier in the season at Paul Ricard.

“I read it positively overall,” Binotto stated.

“I think the track presented a great pitfall, which was the tyre wear. Because of the energy, these medium and high-speed corners are similar to Paul Ricard, so the risk of finding yourself in that situation in which you start and then lose ground was high.

“We put the hard tyres on in the second stint exactly to ensure we arrived at the end with one pit-stop. So all in all, I’m happy. We said also with the drivers we don’t take risks, we try to bring home the necessary points for the Constructors’ standings. So no driving risks and no strategy risks.

“And so therefore I judge it as a positive race because it was very solid.

“Charles drove very well. At a certain point we tried also to push Pierre Gasly to do the pit-stop, faking both the pit-stops. He came into the pits because he had Alonso behind. For us, it was an opportunity to put him under pressure.

“I think the team worked well, with what the limitations of today’s car are. For that, I judge this race positively.”