Carlos Sainz Jnr has played down suggestions that Ferrari are one of the strongest teams based on their performance through the opening test in Barcelona.Charles Leclerc consistently towards the top of the timing screens, leading to Mercedes driver George Russell to describe Ferrari as looking “very, very competitive”.
However, Sainz disagreed when it was suggested that Ferrari looked to have enjoyed a strong start to pre-season testing.
“Why do you believe we look in great shape?,” Sainz said. “I mean, this is very early days and I can imagine why you guys were starting to take conclusions and maybe try to put up a bit of a pecking order. But for us, really, we have no clue.
“I think no one has a clue what fuel loads, which elements are everyone running. So we cannot confirm or deny that we are happy or sad because we really don’t know where we are at all. I think Bahrain, maybe it will start to get a bit easier to start to guess where everyone is.”
With the dramatically overhauled technical regulations for the 2022 season meaning cars behave remarkably different compared to last year, Sainz says he is enjoying the challenge of getting to grips with the heavily revised new cars.
“The cars are quite a bit different to last year,” he said. “You are faced with different challenges when you drive them.
“I’m enjoying it quite a lot, to be fair. The whole process of having to feel it, having to put it on the limit and see how the car reacts to different inputs. There’s certainly quite big differences out there, but the muscle memory of the driver just adapts very quickly.
“We just know how to drive a little bit in a different way and the car just asks you to do some different things and we just do it. And that learning process and this challenge, it’s just good fun to go through it. So in that sense an exciting pre-season testing because it’s different to anything else I’ve done before.”
Sainz has taken over the Ferrari F1-75 for the final session of the three day test on an artificially soaked Circuit de Catalunya.
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