Sainz: It was “quite crazy” how much Ferrari struggled in F1 Chinese GP as he was “understeering like crazy”

Photo Credit: Scuderia Ferrari
Spread the love

It was an eventful race for the Ferrari driver, who has ended a Grand Prix off the podium for the first time in 2024. Starting from P7 after a tough Qualifying session, he managed to make his way up to the top 5.

On the first lap, he dropped 2 spots as he went off track at turn 1 as Charles Leclerc was in no mood to let him by. He passed Hülkenberg at the start of lap 2. But he generally struggled for pace in the first stint versus his teammate and could not find a way past Russell.

From there, he benefitted from a Safety Car as Alonso, Piastri and Russell all pitted. The McLaren and Mercedes had boxed early as they were on a 2-stop.

With Sainz on hards after he stopped, he stayed out and drove an excellent stint to make it to the end to finish 5th.

The 3-time Grand Prix winner was relatively satsified with the final outcome of his race, believing it was almost the best possible result achievable with the SF-24.

“It just hasn’t been a very good weekend for us as a team, I think we were just not strong enough this weekend. P6, P7 in Qualy and clearly also lacking a bit in the race, just a clear lack of pace compared to the McLaren of Norris.

“In the end, P4 and P5, given how bad the start went for both cars and how early I had to pit for the hards to then one-stop from there, P5 actually is a good result given the circumstances.”

Sainz.did go into detail on just how difficult the car was to drive in Shanghai, mentioning they had horrendous amounts of understeer and had to engage in an unusual style to maximise the result.

“For me, I particularly struggled with the front today. In low-speed corners, I was just understeering like crazy. We were having to run the kerbs a lot to turn the car, driving in a very unnatural way in some places.

“When you look at the on-board, it was a bit wild and all over the place, going on the sand and grass in some places.”

Nonetheless, Sainz was particularly shocked at how difficult it proved to be for the Scuderia as he had his suspicions following his time on the simulatior before heading to China.

“It was quite crazy how much we were struggling today, but when I saw the track map and I drove the car in the sim, I kind of saw that this was going to be a tough weekend for our car characteristics.

“Clearly, we need some upgrades if we want to be a bit more competitive in these sort of long-duration tight corners.”

Ferrari are due to be bringing updates in the coming races, and Sainz is hopeful that they will work as planned to cure the weaknesses they have in the aforementioned corners.

“For these kind of circuits, yes. I think here and Suzuka, we need something. In terms of maybe circuits like Australia, we’re better off. 

“There’s going to be circuits where the Red Bull is going to be clearly ahead anyway, and the McLaren is going to be stronger. 

“There’s going to be other circuits like Australia where I think we’re going to be up there. 

“It’s very circuit-dependent, but clearly, if we want to be stronger at circuits like China, we need a better idle platform for this kind of track.”