Sainz reflects on “tough” Miami GP: “We have zero flexibility with how much we can push”

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Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz summed up his Miami GP experience in one word: “Tough.”

Photo credit: Scuderia Ferrari

Despite qualifying a season-best P3, Sainz ultimately finished down in fifth as both Ferraris struggled with tyre performance, something Sainz has diagnosed as a Ferrari-specific affliction.

“That’s not a problem,” the Spanish driver said when asked if the lack of rubber on the track was the culprit. “It’s the same conditions for everyone. It was just very tough for us as Ferrari.

“A bit surprised with how much we struggled on the hard tyres after a very strong stint on the mediums. We tried the undercut on Fernando, obviously it worked, but it meant that by pushing the tyres for three or four laps to get the undercut then…”

The Spaniard made the switch to hards on lap 19, collecting a 5-second penalty for speeding on entry into the pit lane. His race fizzled out in the second stint as he lost out to not only Alonso, but also George Russell, with the Mercedes proving to have superior pace and tyre life. Similarly, Lewis Hamilton was able to climb through the field from P13 to finish P6, ahead of Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari.

“For some reason, with our car right now we have zero flexibility with how much we can push,”

In comparison, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen managed to comfortably complete a whopping 45 laps on hard tyres before eventually stopping for a set of mediums.

“At the moment I cannot push, especially in the race,” Sainz said. “As soon as you push one lap, you do a good first lap, the next lap you are three-tenths slower. We just need to follow a certain pace if we [want] to make it to the end.”

He added that he was “surprised” by the severity of the tyre performance problem: “I thought we were making it better.”