Paul di Resta believes Carlos Sainz should take some time over the summer to properly “embrace himself” and come back stronger for the second half of the season.
Despite having achieved three podium finishes, Sainz has largely been unable to match his Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc this season so far, coupled with two consecutive retirements that have put him 39 points behind the Monegasque driver after six rounds of the 2022 campaign.
Ferrari sporting director Laurent Mekies said there will not be team orders favouring Leclerc over Sainz at this stage but it is clear the Spaniard needs a mental reset, according to Di Resta.
The ex-Force India driver acknowledged Sainz still cannot yet be written out of the title race, but thinks he needs to take some time to himself to re-focus on the job at hand.
A FULL ON-BOARD HELMET CAM LAP 😍
This is what a full lap around Monaco looks like through the eyes of Charles Leclerc 🏎️ pic.twitter.com/PWphtIordH
— Sky Sports F1 (@SkySportsF1) May 27, 2022
“What Carlos I think needs is a summer break,” Di Resta told Sky F1.
“Have a decent end of the year and then a strong winter break. And that can’t come soon enough.
“I’m not saying he can’t turn it around, but at the moment he just needs a bit of a break away from it and to embrace himself back into it. He still definitely deserves that seat.”
This is the first season in Sainz’s career he is driving a car with title-winning potential, and has yet to take a victory or pole position in Formula 1 so far.
Sainz himself admitted he has not adapted to the new car as well as his team-mate so far, but predicted he will be at “100%” pace once he does so.
But when it comes to fighting at the front, the Scot thinks Leclerc is managing that pressure better than Sainz at the moment and thinks he is able to drive the F1-75 closer to its full capabilities.
“It gets to a point where it all becomes too much for them,” Di Resta said.
“I think when you are given a championship-winning car, that doesn’t mean to say you’re just going to take that team and shake it and you just get to that World Championship, it’s far more than that.
“I think the driver is making more of a difference now [at Ferrari] and Charles will just drive the car on the edge and be more aggressive with it.”