Sainz: Unfortunately this is our situation

Sainz: Unfortunately this is our situationCarlos Sainz seemed resigned after finishing the 2023 Spanish Grand Prix fifth after starting from second, lamenting the tough situation Ferrari is in right now.

Ferrari brought a major upgraded to their SF-23 for the Formula 1 weekend in Spain, but the team did not seem to have been able to dial in the car in practice, and while Carlos Sainz qualified an encouraging second, Charles Leclerc was eliminated from Q1 and was 19th fastest, before the team changed the rear end of his car under, breaking parc ferme, resulting in a pitlane start for the Monegasque.

During the race, Sainz was soon under pressure from both Mercedes drivers, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, in addition to Red Bull’s Sergio Perez who was on a recovery drive from 11th on the grid. That meant the Spaniard could only deliver fifth place, a disappointing result for him in front of his home crowds.

Leclerc, on the other hand, couldn’t even score points after finishing 11th.

Reflecting on his home race, Sainz told Sky Sports F1: “I put even harder work in today [than yesterday], it just doesn’t show. Unfortunately this is our situation.

“We know race pace and high speed corners is our weakness. Unfortunately, Barcelona has high degradation tarmac, high degradation configuration and a lot of high-speed corners. That’s why we were struggling out there. Also, the unpredictability of the car,” he explained.

“I did everything I could. I did the most optimal driving and stints I could do but unfortunately P5 was the best I could achieve,” Sainz insisted.

Ferrari has been struggling with their race pace since 2022, and Sainz revealed the team knows the problem and are working on it, as they now seem to have lost out to Mercedes who enjoyed a double podium in Barcelona.

“We have identified our weaknesses and know where we are lacking. The feedback is there and intention is there,” he said. “We just need time, to keep trying, keep bringing things to improve the package.

“Mercedes today proved they have done a good step and it’s a good reference. We will try our best, I see the team is united, the team is pushing flat out back at Maranello.

“We possibly just put the upgrade on the worst possible circuit for us, which also doesn’t help,” Sainz concluded.

Leclerc: We are doing something wrong

Following a disappointing race to 11th, Leclerc was confused about the behavior of his car on the same tyre compound but in different stints.

“I don’t understand what we are doing wrong but we are doing something wrong,” a bewildered Leclerc told Sky after the race. “I went from a first hard to a second hard in the last stint, did the same thing and the car is behaving in a completely different way.

“We have to understand and work but it’s been a few races now where we are struggling with the conditions or having a really peaky car and today is no better,” he lamented.

Leclerc was vocal that something was wrong with the rear of his SF-23 during Qualifying, which prompted the team to change it before the race, but that didn’t seem to improve the #16 Red Car that much.

“It did,” he responded when asked of the car felt any better in the race. “But the limitations were the opposite. Yesterday I could not drive, I had a rear that was super loose and strange. We will analyse all of this at the factory.

“Today was mostly the front,” he went on. “The feeling was a little bit better today. The second and third stints were quite a bit better. The first stint was really bad but I think that was more tyre related.

“I feel like all weekend we have been speaking with drivers and we are struggling. It’s such a tiny window and on this track it seems to be more sensitive than others. We need to be on top of those things,” Leclerc concluded.