Carlos Sainz leaped to Ferrari’s defense after the 2022 French Grand Prix, after his late pitstop, saying they are not the disaster people say they are.
Sainz had a solid drive from 19th on the grid, and was voted driver of the day, but finished the race fifth while a podium was possible had it not been for several factors.
His first pitstop under the Safety Car – brought out by teammate Charles Leclerc’s crash – was not ideal as it was delayed and in the middle of the confusion, Ferrari released the Spaniard in the way of Williams’ Alex Albon, for which he was hit with a five-second stop-go penalty.
Later on, the team pit him for a second time – while running third – where he served the penalty and bolted fresh tyres on his F1-75, but the timing of pitstop was not ideal as the remaining laps were not enough for him to climb back up to podium places, ultimately settling for seventh.
Ferrari doing a good job on strategy
“I think the team is doing a very good job on strategy this year,” Sainz said, quoted by F1’s Official Website. “I still believe at Ferrari we get super-criticised for things that other teams might be going through also in the pit stop windows, and every time there’s a tricky moment on strategy, we are discussing things.
“But we are not a disaster like people seem to say we are. We like to discuss things, we are open about them,” he added defending his team.
Ferrari radioed Sainz to pit while he was in the midst of an overtake move over Red Bull’s Sergio Perez and when that point was brought to his attention, he said: “Yes, I was in the middle of an overtake but I didn’t believe that was the right lap to stop and come back through the field.
“I believe that maybe at the time it was better to risk it and stay out and see what happens to the tyres… but I had just made it to P3 and I saw a podium position that I said, if I make these tyres last, maybe I can finish on the podium.
“But we will never know, it was a feeling,” the Spaniard added in an attempt to defend Ferrari’s decision once again. “The team has a lot more data on the computer, they have a lot more numbers to go through and if they took that decision, I’m 100% convinced that they took it with the best of intentions and with the best of spirits.
“It’s just, we need to keep progressing and we need to analyse everything and see if we can do better, but I’m convinced the team is doing a good job there,” he insisted.
A win was not on at Paul Ricard
Sainz was realistic that a win was not on the cards for him at Le Castellet, and responded to a question on it: “No, no, not the win, but the podium position, I think with a perfect race we could have made it.
“The win I think, Max [Verstappen] was pretty fast and perfect out there, so starting last it’s not like you can beat Max.
“But yes, it felt like a good recovery, fast pace. I think without the penalty, if we would have started on pole or on the first row like we could have done yesterday, the win would have been definitely possible.
“We started 19th and how the pit stop went and how everything turned out, to be finishing P5 and the point for fastest lap, it’s okay. I’m going to take it, but I believe with a perfect race we could have been further up,” the Ferrari driver reflected.
“Carlos had a strong weekend, starting with qualifying, when he did what was required of him for the team,” Mattia Binotto said of Sainz who helped Leclerc take pole giving him a tow on Saturday.
“In the race, he was patient in the early stages and then made up places lap after lap, including some brilliant overtaking moves,” he added.