Ralf Schumacher warning for Ferrari as ‘drivers’ mistakes are piling up’

Michelle Foster
Carlos Sainz makes a pit stop for Ferrari in the grand prix. Miami May 2023

Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz makes a pit stop in the grand prix. Miami May 2023

Two crashes from Charles Leclerc and a pit lane speeding penalty for Carlos Sainz at the Miami Grand Prix, Ralf Schumacher says Ferrari’s driver mistakes are “piling up”.

Leclerc recorded his third and fourth crashes of this season at the Miami International Autodrome as the Monégasque driver got it wrong at Turn 7 in FP2 and again in qualifying.

His double crash came on the back of his Azerbaijan Grand Prix qualifying accident, that having followed on from his Australian Grand Prix retirement with the driver involved in a first lap collision.

But while Leclerc is crashing, Sainz is tallying up five-second penalties with the Spaniard penalised for speeding in the pit lane when he came in for his one and only pit stop of the Miami race.

That was his second of this season with the 28-year-old making headlines in Australia when he was also hit with a five-second penalty have pitched Fernando Alonso into a spin in a late-race restart.

But even though his Miami penalty didn’t cost him any positions, the driver almost 15s clear of Lewis Hamilton at the chequered flag, Schumacher has warned the mistakes are mounting.

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“You need a little patience, because the drivers’ mistakes are piling up,” Schumacher told Sky Deutschland.

“With Carlos Sainz’s experience, it shouldn’t happen that he gets a five-second penalty again.”

The former F1 driver is also worried about Ferrari’s race pace as Sainz and Leclerc finished fifth and seventh having lost out to Mercedes drivers late in the race.

“It hasn’t changed much, but the alarming thing was the race pace, which was very bad again,” said Schumacher. “The trend is not good.”

As for Sainz, the Spaniard has held up his hand over his time penalty as he admits he came into the pits too hot.

“I just overdid it at the entrance to the pits. Thank God it didn’t cost me any places because I had enough time,” he said. “I was just too fast, that wasn’t ideal.”

There was, however, speculation that maybe Ferrari called him in too late resulting in him having to slam the brakes as he hit the pit entry line.

Team boss Fred Vasseur has denied this.

“He wasn’t called to the pits too late,” he said. “It was relatively late, but not too late. He just pushed and then blocked the tyres at the front. As a result, he was too fast at the pit entrance. ”

Sainz, having lined up third on the grid, admits he “can’t be satisfied” with his P5 finish.

He added: “I was fast and the whole weekend, was constantly in attack mode. Baku was more of a breakaway because the car is very difficult. We have a lot of tyre wear and the car is not constant.”

Vasseur concedes “there’s too much ups and downs,” with the SF-23.

“But,” he continued, “we also have to see the positive. It was positive that the pace in qualifying was okay. We were in a good position yesterday, but today there was a lack of consistency in the race. We had a few good laps at the beginning. The first part of the race was okay with Carlos and the last part with Charles.

“But you need consistency over the entire 57 laps. That has nothing to do with tyres wear but with consistency.”