Carlos Sainz feels he was finally able to show his “full potential” at Ferrari after “nailing” his qualifying laps at the French Grand Prix to out-qualify team-mate Charles Leclerc and finish ‘best of the rest’ behind the top two teams.
Sainz, who joined Ferrari this season, has missed out on completing his final Q3 runs at the last two events due to late-session stoppages but this time he got a clean lap in and finished 0.157 seconds ahead of Leclerc.
Asked if he had finally got to grips with the Ferrari he said: “Honestly the last three weekends, Monaco, Baku and here, I have been feeling very strong [but] this is the first clean quail I’ve done in the three weekends.
“It’s the first quail where I’ve managed to show my true potential and the true potential of the car with me, so after two frustrating quails, to get one clean one, just nailing the laps through qualifying, felt definitely good.
“I think it was about time because I was starting to get a bit frustrated.”
After flying high at the last two rounds – where Leclerc claimed pole for both – Ferrari dropped back down to earth this weekend and Sainz’s lap was some 0.850s off the pace-setting time of Max Verstappen.
Sainz unlocks pace without Ferrari upgrades
Sainz revealed the team had not made any significant developments since the start of the season, due to the focus being placed on preparing for the new 2022 regulations, but that gains are being made through ‘tweaks’ in the design.
He added: “So far this year apart from bringing fine tunings to the car, no big upgrades, all the focus is onto next year, we want to do the next step next year.
“So far this year we’ve managed to progress just by understanding the car, changing very little bits on the car that’s made it a bit quicker every race weekend.
“Monaco and Baku surprised us, particularly Baku. In Bahrain we saw we had a really strong car in low speed, Baku had a very long straight and we thought we were going to go backwards.
“Here we’re unfortunately back to where we were before Monaco and Baku, which is those six, seven-tenths behind the leaders, but it’s still good progress compared to where we were last year.”
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.