Carlos Sainz conceded Ferrari “must have got something really wrong” after the team that claimed pole in Monaco and Azerbaijan finished out of the points in the French Grand Prix.
Sainz’s team-mate Charles Leclerc said it was “one of the most difficult races” he has had as both cars suffered serious degradation that left them “two seconds” off the pace in the closing stages.
Sainz, who joined the team at the start of the season and finished second in Monaco, said: “It’s quite evident that today we must have got something really wrong to be so far off the pace.
“It’s a limitation that has appeared in some of the races where we really struggled with the front tyres, with graining, with degradation, two times as much as our competitors.
“Cars that yesterday we were half a second quicker, like the McLaren, or three tenths quicker, I don’t remember, today they were towards the end of the race two seconds faster per lap.
“It is clear we have a limitation with tyres, with tyre management with the way we operate the tyres. It's something we need to analyse and something I felt immediately when I jumped in the car [at the season-opening race] in Bahrain.
“It’s time to get our head down and work around it because it’s clearly limiting us on race day. You have no margin with strategy, no margin with defending. Today we were really far off the pace.”
Leclerc “struggling massively”
Ferrari had qualified fifth with Sainz, and seventh with Leclerc, as F1 returned to a more ‘normal’ circuit after the two street tracks where Leclerc claimed both pole positions.
Leclerc dropped down through the field due to tyre degradation and ended the race 16th, while Sainz also plummeted and could manage 11th.
Leclerc said: “It’s been one of the most difficult races of my time in Formula 1. I have been just struggling massively, I think both of the cars were struggling massively.
“We had five or six laps on the tyres where we were quite good and we were competitive and then even though we were trying to take care of the tyres they were degrading so much.
“On my side, we tried a second stop towards the end, we knew we would be out of the points anyway, so we just went for another stop then obviously it was quite tricky because we were with blue flags.
“We knew degradation was going to be a big thing today, but it’s not like we were not taking care of our tyres at the beginning so we’ve been surprised but the consequences were a lot bigger for us.”
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