Carlos Sainz a lonely P5: “The weaknesses of our car come alive at a circuit like this”

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Carlos Sainz wasn’t left completely satisfied after his home GP. The Ferrari driver had started the race from the front row, but ended up dropping way back to P5 due to excessive tyre degradation that didn’t allow him to make the most out of the upgrades his team brought to Barcelona.

The Spanish driver discussed his race after the end of the session, highlighting the reasons behind his drop in performance over the 66 laps distance:

“Honestly I just spent the whole race managing my tyres, because I know that we are really hard on them and with this high deg circuit I just couldn’t push. We know it’s the weakness of our car.”

“Coming to a high deg circuit and a two-stop race we were just managing the whole way, trying to make it to target laps of the stint and still falling short in a few of them.”

After such a tough day in hotter conditions, Sainz compared the difficulties encountered to the impressive lap he had signed in drying conditions yesterday:

“The weaknesses of our car come alive at a circuit like this with high-speed corners and how hard we are on tyres, but it also shows that yesterday we must have done a pretty good lap.

“I think today was again a bit back to where the car is at the moment is in race pace, and yeah, probably this sort of track isn’t great for us.”

Photo credit: Scuderia Ferrari

Asked whether the freshly introduced upgrade package has already proved itself to be decisive, Sainz wasn’t sure, admitting that the fact that it was tested at a track where the team struggled so much with tyre maintenance couldn’t allow him to understand the true extent of their potential:

“It’s difficult to tell. I know the factory did a tremendous effort to bring them, probably we brought them to our weakest track of the season, because of the characteristics of the track.

“Probably we haven’t seen the best of them yet. I still believe with the bouncing and the high-speed weakness we had we were never going to be very competitive around here so it’s too early to tell, but I think they did a tremendous effort to bring them, so hats off to all the factory, let’s keep pushing and let’s keep improving.”

The Spanish driver didn’t expect to have to fight against the Silver Arrows for a podium finish today, admitting that the speed shown by Hamilton and Russell today was “the biggest surprise” he had all day, whereas he was on a similar pace as in other events this year:

“The biggest surprise was how close were Mercedes also this race. I think our pace, when you look at it, we finished 45 seconds off Max, which is more or less where we had finished in Miami, where we finished in recent races. It’s just that suddenly Mercedes has slotted in between us and Red Bull, where Aston Martin should have been.”

The one-time race winner is still positive for the upcoming rounds, and especially believes that the innovations debuted on Friday might be key to unlock more potential from the SF-23:

“Work to do. Analysis to be done on this package. I trust that what we did is the right direction, now we need to start addressing our weaknesses with the bouncing, with the high-speed, and with this new package and new direction hopefully we can start bringing performance,” he concluded.