Carlos Sainz Jnr, Ferrari, Circuit de Catalunya, 2021

Sainz: Ferrari already making changes to avoid repeat of “very bad race” in Portugal

2021 Spanish Grand Prix

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Carlos Sainz Jnr says Ferrari have learned important lessons from their disappointing performance in the Portuguese Grand Prix, where he recorded their first point-less finish of the season.

Having run fourth early in the race, Sainz fell to 11th at the chequered flag, which he said showed something had gone badly awry.

“On Sunday night, as you can imagine, I didn’t have many positives to take because I was not happy with with how Sunday went,” he said. “It was a very bad race. A lost opportunity more than anything.

“After running fourth in the race, to finish 11th in this modern Formula 1 it means that something has gone clearly wrong and something has not quite worked out.”

Sainz was brought in for an early first pit stop and, despite the longer second stint it left him with, put on the medium compound tyres instead of hards. Their pace dropped off towards the end of the race as he suffered graining and lost several positions.

“With a bit more time to analyse, letting a few days by, a lot of analysis made by the team, by myself trying to to figure out what went on, we clearly didn’t do a good job all around,” Sainz explained.

“We’ve taken our conclusions, we’ve taken our analysis, and we are going to try to put things in place for this weekend to try and get better.

“There’s still things to do to improve things to get used to, things to understand. Clearly, we didn’t expect the medium tyre to behave the way it did behave. We were very aggressive with the stop lap and everything and it didn’t go to plan. But with what we had beforehand, we thought that was going to be okay, and it was clearly not not the case.”

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2021 Spanish Grand Prix

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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13 comments on “Sainz: Ferrari already making changes to avoid repeat of “very bad race” in Portugal”

  1. Its a pity Sainz already got the second team order and had to let Lec pass him in turn 5
    The lack of respect by the ferrari pitwall was schocking
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7MBSZNP7B0

    1. someone or something
      6th May 2021, 22:22

      If anything, Ferrari waited too long. 5 laps earlier would’ve been perfect, as Sainz was already losing time and holding up Leclerc, while Norris was edging away and Ocon started putting pressure on Leclerc. Swapping positions was the only sensible move in that situation, with both drivers on different strategies.
      You didn’t hear Sainz complaining, by the way. If anything, his comment about graining can be taken as a confirmation of the pit wall’s assessment.
      Interpreting any of that as diesrespect is a huge stretch, in my opinion.

      1. Yes, I personally agree with team orders when it’s strategically useful, example the first win of 2019, spa, when vettel let past leclerc who at that point was faster, in that case it was very useful to let leclerc past, considering how hamilton got close in the end, if they hadn’t done that they probably would’ve lost the win.

    2. A pity they signed Carlos. his only focus seems to be qualy and even in that he can fare pretty poorly.

      1. @peartree Leclerc also focusses mostly on quali dropping back during most races. Even to the point of getting 7 poles in 2019 and then only winning 2 of those races. So yeah having two of those in one team is probably not the best of ideas.

        Sainz went from starting P11 in Imola to P5 at the finish though. So it’s not just doom and gloom. At least Sainz showed he can move forwards during a race.

        1. @f1osaurus ferrari didn’t have a good car in 2019, they had a strong engine and a fast driver. Sainz made a good start in Imola, as ferrari was strong in the damp but sainz then had to make up for his own mistakes. At least he is not Vettel bad

          1. @peartree Ferrari had the fastest car in 2019. No doubt about it. Their drivers were poor racers though. They messed up strategies, fought amongst themselves, made lots of mistakes.

          2. @f1osaurus

            Ferrari had the fastest car in 2019. No doubt about it.

            Except Mercedes often said they were losing .8 to 1.1 in Q on the straights. Ferrari fell apart as they had no answer for mercedes

  2. We know the SF21 is heating tires very well, too well, having eventual problems of high tire temperatures and degradation.
    The key aspect in this situation was that Leclerc was already reporting graining on his set of yellow tires before the controversial pit stop. Was that information available to the strategy team? Was that information available to Sainz? Maybe the problem is the team organization. I can’t understand the decision to bring Sainz to pits so early, to put a set of yellow tires that Leclerc already reported, were not going to last long. Why that information didn’t flow from one garage to the other, from one driver to the other one? With the right information, both drivers could have been up there well into the points.

    1. someone or something
      7th May 2021, 1:16

      You keep beating that dead horse, but as a matter of fact, heating your tyres ‘very well’ is not what leads to graining.* On the contrary, graining is caused by the exact opposite, namely when the tread heats up quicker than the layers of rubber underneath it. This can happen when the tyre construction is too cold, the thread is overheated by skidding over the track surface (usually as a result of understeer), or any combination of both factors.

      You were probably thinking of blistering, which usually happens at the other extreme of the temperature scale, and had absolutely nothing to do with what ruined Sainz’s race, either.

      *Not to mention the fact that no, we don’t “know” that. You keep repeating it, but that’s not the same thing.

  3. Looks like Ferrari gambled on a split strategy giving at least one of their drivers a decent result. Leclerc on a 41 lap stint on hards and Sainz on a 45 lap stint on medium. Indeed odd that the driver with the longest stint got the softer tyres. Like Sainz says, Ferrari must have misread the tyre performances. Or perhaps they simply gave Leclerc the best option.

    Though Sainz only lasted about 30 laps on the mediums before his lap times started to deteriorate. Perez at least kept some pace in them for 40 laps before he started dropping back fast.

    1. someone or something
      7th May 2021, 12:33

      Indeed odd that the driver with the longest stint got the softer tyres.

      I’m fairly sure they would’ve given Leclerc the Medium as well, but since that was his Q2 tyre, they had to use a different compound. 40 laps on Soft was out of the question (Stroll did it, but that was an anomaly), so they went with Hard.

      Or perhaps they simply gave Leclerc the best option.

      What sense does that make? It’s not like they have anything to gain from unequal treatment (not to be confused with split strategies).
      No, the staraightforward answer is: They didn’t give Leclerc the ‘best’ option, they gave him the best option that was available for his strategy. Same with Sainz: They didn’t put him on the second-best available tyre, they put him on the tyre they were expecting to perform best, which also happened to be the only tyre that gave them a realistic chance of undercutting Norris.
      Sainz’s tyres grained, Norris’ didnt – no one is suggesting McLaren disadvantaged Norris and messed up his strategy.

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