Carlos Sainz has admitted that Ferrari faces sitting in no man's land after their weekend of struggles in Brazil, having missed the chance to close the gap on Mercedes in their battle for second in the constructors’ championship.
The combined form of Sainz and Charles Leclerc has been enough to see Ferrari slowly close in on their rivals, but with two rounds remaining in the season, they still remain 20 points behind their rivals.
The sprint weekend at Interlagos offered the perfect opportunity for the Prancing Horse to outperform the Mercedes duo, especially after Leclerc qualified second for the grand prix. Unfortunately, this would be their highlight of the entire event.
Speaking to Sky Sports F1 after the race, Sainz admitted that Ferrari were always "on the backfoot" in Brazil and endured a round to forget.
"I think it was a bit of a missed opportunity with the retirement of Charles, not to get a bit more points than Mercedes," Sainz said.
"But the reality is that this weekend we didn't really have a lot of pace. We were honestly just a little bit on the backfoot with the car, with these long corners.
"We just seemed to struggle. We did an OK race, but unfortunately, we are a bit in no man's land.
"We could have taken a bit more points on them [Mercedes], but at least they struggled. We also struggled this weekend."
Leclerc's worrying DNF
The early exit of Leclerc's SF-23 from the race effectively ruined Ferrari's chances of scoring a big haul and the public embarrassment for the team was clear to see on their pitwall, with Sainz admitting to concern over the hydraulics issue.
"We need to analyse what happened with Charles but I’m hoping it's a bit of a one-off," Sainz said afterwards.
Sainz also suffered his own mechanical problems on the opening lap.
The Spaniard complained over the team radio about his clutch's poor performance after a slow initial getaway and asked for it to be replaced.
GPFans is a multi-platform, multi-language brand dedicated to Formula One coverage. We bring you all the ins and outs of the sport, 24/7, everything from up-to-the-minute news and features to the latest viral stories and clips.
We believe that a new generation of exciting, outspoken drivers will make F1 more popular than ever before, and we want to give our users access to as much of their heroes as possible, on and off the track. From Lewis Hamilton to Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo to Sebastian Vettel, we provide in-depth analysis of every every Grand Prix in the season, from Australia to Abu Dhabi.
With Formula One under the new ownership of Liberty Media, how the sport is being covered is evolving, and GPFans will look to be at the heart of this progression into new media, as one of the fastest-growing sites covering the king of motorsports.