Sainz admits he’s “not driving naturally” in 2022 Ferrari yet after latest error

2022 Spanish Grand Prix

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Carlos Sainz Jnr says he is learning through his mistakes as he struggles to adapt to Ferrari’s 2022 car following a series of errors.

Sainz slid off on lap seven of the Spanish Grand Prix after being caught out by a gust of wind. However he admitted he has also been “struggling quite a bit to drive this car and to understand how to extract the maximum out of it.

“It’s given me a whole new challenge in my Formula 1 career and I’m having to think out of the box, drive out of the box. With these kinds of mistakes, it comes to learning things that I’m having to learn, putting my head down to try and find this and try to make it turn around as soon as possible.”

His off-track excursion in Spain was the latest in a series of errors during his 2022 campaign.

“There’s been a combination of misfortune and mistakes from my side, which also counts,” said Sainz. “But I think in the future it’s going to turn all of a sudden or it’s going to turn little by little and I just need to keep my head down.”

Sainz made a good start to his first season at Ferrari last year, beating team mate Charles Leclerc in the points. However he is yet to find the same level of confidence with the team’s new car, has qualified behind Leclerc in all six rounds and lies 39 points behind him in the championship.

“I think you can see from the cameras and from everywhere that I’m not there yet with the car compared to last year,” Sainz admitted. “I’m not driving naturally, the car is a bit too pointy for my liking.

“But that’s it, it’s the way it goes. You can either adapt yourself or you can bring your car a bit more to your liking.

“These two things they take time and they take knowledge and experience, takes mistakes, takes trial and error,” he explained. “And this is what I am in the process now and what I’m going to try and correct as soon as possible.”

Leclerc’s strong start to the season has impressed Sainz, who said his team mate is “driving at a very high level.

“He’s putting together super, very impressive lap times, staying aggressive in his way of driving and I can only admire and in some ways copy and in others try to put it a bit more to my liking to be faster and that’s it.”

“Sometimes it goes like this and as a driver you just need to go through the process and challenge yourself,” Sainz concluded.

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2022 Spanish Grand Prix

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Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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32 comments on “Sainz admits he’s “not driving naturally” in 2022 Ferrari yet after latest error”

  1. And it shows. He seems to have to do a lot of work driving the car while Leclerc seems far more comfortable with it.

  2. I’m a big fan of Carlos and was pleasantly surprised about his performance last year, but right now he has a race winning car; he needs to step up his game immediately or he’s going to be the next Barrichello (or Pérez, for that matter).

    1. Well, I’m afraid he’s not more than BAR, PER, BOT etc. And, at the moment, he’s not even in the same league with them yet regarding the palmares, I mean SAI has 0 wins and 0 pole positions! BAR and BOT, actually, have a noticeable amount of wins and PPs.

    2. I think Sainz has mentally crumbled. If he can pull himself out of the hole he’s dug, he will come out stronger. But don’t expect Ferrari will be patient.

      As it stands he isn’t on the same level as Barrichello or Perez.

    3. Why is latin america producing so many 2nd drivers nowadays? (Sainz), Perez, Massa, Barrichello, Pique Jr….

      1. Sainz is not from Latin America you idiot 😂

      2. Are you kidding? Do you think Spain is in America for real? Still thinking that after Spanish GP?…Oh Lord please go grab your 3rd grade Geography book again.

        1. Oh I love the internet. I should have wrote why portugese and spanish speaking are 2nd drivers nowadays

          1. @qeki Alonso?
            (holes and digging quote available…)

    4. Steveetienne
      25th May 2022, 7:04

      He isn’t as fast as Rubens. Sainz doesn’t realise it yet but he is already a career number 2 driver in F1.

  3. Carlos this year reminds me of Vettel 2018. The speed is there and of course he can drive but he keeps coming undone with these silly errors or contact which now seems almost inevitable. There’s a great driver in there still. It’s just not coming together for him unfortunately. 2019-spec Sainz would be leading the championship I reckon.

    1. I hope he doesn’t become like Vettel. But there is a difference between Vettel’s downturn and his.

      Vettel started being very tentative in wheel-to-wheel encounters which caused him to spin oh-so-many times in 2018. His qualifying driving, his regular driving on his own wasn’t an issue and his pace was still there.

      Sainz’ issues are two-fold: 1) Pace isn’t there, 2) There are driving errors while driving on his own are coming in due to pressure (Australia, Spain).
      Solving #1 could take a while, or may never recover, similar to Riccardo 2021, Vettel 2014. But Solving #2 should be his priority. I hope continuous laps in the simulator will help in this.

      1. True that, vettel’s pace was there for all 2018 and even in 2019 he wasn’t that bad compared to leclerc, it’s in 2020 that his pace vanished too.

  4. I’m not that surprised with Sainz’s current form. To be honest, he was always a bit of an unknown. If we break down his seasons, we can see there’s no real sign of him ever being championship contender material –
    1) 2015 – Did decently against a 17 year old Verstappen who had fair less racing experience than him. Beat Max in qualifying (which was his weakness when he entered), but also was outraced by Max on the majority of races
    2) 2016 – Was flattered when a dejected Kvyat was his teammate
    3) 2017 – Was consistent and better than Kvyat, but not dominating him
    4) 2018 – His first full year in renault he got an absolute thrashing at the hands of Hulkenberg
    5) 2019 – Paired up against a rookie Norris. Was slower than Norris in qualifying but better on racedays against his rookie teammate.
    6) 2020 – Was lucky to finish in front of Norris in the points, although he got outqualified by his younger teammate and was lesser impressive than him overall
    7) 2021 – Probably Sainz’s best season, but again lucky to have finished in front of Leclerc, who was overall faster in quali and race days, but more unlucky.
    8) 2022 – In a top drive, he’s one of the poorest performers on the grid in terms of consistency and maximising the potential of the car.

    Ferrari have made quite a blunder by signing him for a couple of more seasons. He isn’t even good enough to be a Perez type #2.

    1. 2020 – Was lucky to finish in front of Norris in the points

      Quite the opposite. Sainz had at least four botched pitstops and a DNS at Spa (where P5 could have been possible).

    2. @todfod Exactly, very few drivers survive long with such an underwhelming cv. Back in his rookie season he might have somehow edged Max in qualifying but possibly he sacrificed the car’s race pace almost always finished over a pitstop behind Max.
      By the end of his time alongside Norris he got obliterated at Abu Dhabi and Norris has carried that form up until now.

  5. I said it here on this proper forum when he was signed by Ferrari and repeated it last year when a lot of people were trashing Leclerc because he finished behind Carlos in the standings. Carlos is a good consistent technical driver that can drive fast a good handling car. Though, He is not the type of driver that can make the difference in a car.

    He is not on the level of Max, Leclerc, Hamilton or Alonso. He can probably match the speed of any of those drivers in an easy to drive car. Put him in any car that requires adjustments and he’ll start struggling. He has struggled against Hulkenberg in the 2018 Renault which was tricky to drive. Ferrari have the fastest all around car right now and Sainz is failing not only to match Leclerc’s pace but he is finishing behind slower cars and I’m not talking about Max’s Red Bull.

    The F1-75 is pointy car with an unstable rear end. Leclerc was able to work around that while Carlos hasn’t. I can’t see Carlos matching Leclerc’s pace unless Ferrari will introduce an upgrade to make the car more driveable which is not the ideal thing to do. They will upgrade the car to make it even more fast and the drivers will have to deal with it. With regard to the WDC, there is a strong competition from Max but Ferrari normally should have the WCC in the bag if Sainz is performing near Leclerc without making mistakes.

    1. Ferrari have the fastest all around car right now

      Agree with most of what you wrote, not really with the quoted part. If it’s the fastest, only marginally (less than 0.1sec faster than RBR I’d say). In Spain LEC things seemed to evolve into an easy win for LEC ONLY after VER had that off-track excursion in lap 9, until that moment LEC’s advantage was just 2sec. Then, now we can say Ferrari it’s not that much more reliable either.

      1. @mg1982
        The F1-75 is consistently fast in every circuit, in every condition and on any tyre compound. It has a deficit compared to the RB18 on the straights and with regard to its tyre management. Both issues seem to be addressed with the upgrade package in Barcelona. Another thing is that RBR were heavily developing their car in the first 6 races while the F1-75 was almost untouched from pre-season testing till the Spanish GP.

        As mentioned by Binotto, at some point RBR will stop developing their car due to the budget cap restrictions. It’s rumoured that they have already spent a big part of their budget. Judging by Marko’s answer on the matter, I say the rumour have a solid foundation. Theoretically speaking, Ferrari still have more pace to unlock from their car compared to RBR who are probably closer to maximizing their car’s full potential.

        As for the failure Leclerc suffered that left his Turbo and MGU-H damaged beyond repair, Ferrari confirmed that it was not a design issue nor reliability issue. They didn’t disclose the real reason in order probably to not to give an indication about the way they are running the PU. Now it is almost certain that they will take a penalty somewhere in the next races.

  6. petebaldwin (@)
    24th May 2022, 14:01

    “I’m not driving naturally, the car is a bit too pointy for my liking.

    The trouble Sainz has is that they’re not going to develop the car to his tastes now that Leclerc is in a title fight… If Leclerc and Sainz want opposing things, Leclerc is going to get his way because he’s earned it.

    1. Stable but slower seems to be his ideal car. I don’t think any team would develop a championship winning car to his tastes. I’ve never really seen Sainz drive on the absolute edge of the car’s performance level yet. His style is a lot like Jenson’s -controlled without taking risks.

  7. Bottas is a far better driver than this dnf addict clown.

  8. Ferrari signing him without any pressure seems very foolish by now.

    1. Ferrari always has to drop the ball in some way. Right now, they’ve committed to an unpromising #2 driver. For their sake, i hope they have a contract clause that can trigger an exit. They need Bottas in that 2nd seat.

      1. Yes, bottas is also my pick for a sainz replacement, he’s better at extracting 95% from a car.

  9. I think Carlos problem is not with the car it’s within himself.

    He’s realised that he’s finally in a championship winning car and not everyone can grasp that gracefully and do what’s needed.

    It’s the ultimate open wheel racers dream and thinking that you are on the final step to achieve your ultimate goal can make people weak sometimes.

    Carlos needs to overcome this inorder to get remembered.

  10. If Mercedes doesn’t improve the car, we could see HAM in a Ferrari next season.

    1. @jimfromus I’d like to see that but I think Merc are favourites for this year’s title.

    2. @jimfromus
      Both Ferrari drivers are locked with medium term contracts that expire in 2024. Hamilton has only himself to blame if he is not driving this year’s Ferrari. He himself and Toto talked about a concrete Ferrari move in 2020. I thought that was a no brainer after getting his 7th title. A move to Ferrari and the possibility to win the WDC with them will cement his status forever as the undisputed GOAT. If he fails, it will not hurt his reputation and he will still retire with loads of money.

      1. Don’t see why he’d be the greatest of all time if he won a championship with a ferrari, many of his titles came from a dominant car, and if you want to pull the “many teams” card, I believe fangio won with 4 different teams.

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