Hard tyres may have been wrong choice for final attack on Verstappen – Sainz

2022 Canadian Grand Prix

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Carlos Sainz Jnr said he might have been better off switching to soft tyres for the final stint of the Canadian Grand Prix, following his unsuccessful attempt to pass Max Verstappen for victory.

The appearance of the Safety Car with 21 laps to go handed Sainz the opportunity to pit for fresh rubber and resume the race immediately behind Verstappen. Ferrari put him on a new set of hard tyres, which were six laps fresher than Verstappen’s.

However Sainz pointed out that as the race did not restart until there were 16 laps remaining, he might have been better off switching to the soft tyre compound. He did not have any fresh medium tyres left.

“I was thinking about it now,” he admitted after the race. “The Safety Car stayed out for a bit longer than maybe what I thought or what the team thought.

“By time it was green flag, there was only 16 or something laps left, which was the right number of laps to maybe try and put on a soft and try to overtake Max on the warm-up phase of the hard.

Fernando Alonso, Alpine, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2022
Gallery: 2022 Canadian Grand Prix in pictures
“Now, it’s easy to say. At the time, with still 20-something laps to go, the hard was definitely the fastest option to the to the flag, especially knowing that it was a bit of a fresher hard to Max. It’s a shame.”

Before the Safety Car came out Sainz held a 7.7 second lead over Verstappen, who was catching him on fresher tyres.

“I felt like without the Safety Car he wouldn’t have caught me easily,” said Sainz. “I think it would have been a good battle at the end.

“With him catching up on me, I was ready to hang it out there until the chequered flag. I was in good pace, I was still doing 17.3s, and I think we could have made it to the flag.”

Sainz said he risked everything to pass Verstappen at the end of the race but didn’t have enough of a pace advantage over the Red Bull to get by.

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“It was a tough, intense battle with Max,” he said. “I knew I had a bit of pace delta on him from the whole race and I think it was five, six laps fresher [on] tyres. But to overtake around here you need to be more than those two or three tenths.

“I gave it all. I was risking everything over the kerbs, close to the wall and having a few moments out there in the dirty air. I got close a couple of times but not enough to really throw a move down the inside anywhere. But I can tell you I was pushing.”

The narrowness of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve made it difficult for Sainz to stay close enough to Verstappen to attack in the DRS zones.

George Russell, Mercedes, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2022
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“Without the DRS it’s impossible, because the DRS is still affecting you quite a lot, especially at this track that you cannot do different lines. It’s all chicanes that you have nowhere to put your front wing to avoid the understeer and the overheating of the tyres.

“But even like that I was happy and confident to be in the dirty air and managed to stay, even overheating, 16 laps in DRS. I could close, I think in lap three, as soon as the DRS opened. It was all about cooling the tyres and regaining the battery to try and really drain it when catching him.”

Despite failing to wrest the win away from Verstappen, Sainz says his car’s performance bodes well for the rest of the season.

“I left everything out there. Compared to a Red Bull today, we were quicker I think the whole race. First time the season that I think I can say that I was fastest man on track, which gives me some confidence and hope for the next races.

“But two or three tenths is not enough to pass a Red Bull, you need more like five, six tenths of pace delta if you really want to have any chance of passing Max.”

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2022 Canadian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
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26 comments on “Hard tyres may have been wrong choice for final attack on Verstappen – Sainz”

  1. The second I saw Ferrari put those white walled tyres on Sainz, I knew there was no chance for him to win that race.

    Red Bull’s straight line speed advantage was so huge, that unless Sainz got some phenomenal traction out of the corner before the DRS straight, there would be no way he’d pass him. There’s no way he’d get that traction on Hards. Sainz could have passed Max, and even built up a slight lead on the softs, then attempted to protect that lead in the last 5 laps when the tyres would wear off… but with hards there was never a chance of getting in front of Max to being with.

    I’m surprised that the Ferrari strategist still has a job.. they’ve been making ridiculously poor decisions for a while now.

    1. @todfod Agree, I was shocked when I saw him coming out on hard tyres. I know the teams know a lot more than we do bla bla bla but still…

    2. He had NO new yellow tyres only very used and on those he would never caught Max probaly even lose his position to lewis.

  2. I was also about to post this on the live chat. Why did they put Hard tyres on Sainz? Mediums or Softs if Ferrari were even braver would have been a logical choice, but he would have to ovetake Verstappen and probably defend hard. Maybe they just wanted to ensure Sainz’s 2nd place since both Mercedes were close to Red Bull and Ferrari at the time? That was really odd that they put him on Hard tyres.

  3. Ferrari continue to engineer losses – it’s almost an art form.

    They dithered about while Leclerc lost massive time behind a DRS train and seemed incapable of even trying to do anything about it until it was way too late, and pulled Sainz in and stuck hard tyres on his car when it was pretty clear that on hards he could at best match Verstappen’s times or go marginally quicker.

    They might as well hand the trophies to RBR after their past few race performances.

    1. @dbradock

      Their strategist needs to go. I don’t think there’s been a single team on the grid as weak on strategy as Ferrari is. Although Alpine’s strategist at the Canadian GP seems to competing with Ferrari for who can win the prize for most amateurish strategy at a race.

      1. @todfod what amazes me is that they’ve been doing this for years and still they continue to make bad calls (or no calls at all some times), bad pit stops and have likely cost them a WDC at least once but nothing seems to change.

        1. @dbradock

          If you ask me, it stems from poor leadership and work culture that is ingrained in Ferrari.

          Don’t want to offend any of the Italians here.. But it seems like Ferrari has never looked like a championship winning team ever since they started putting Italians as team principal. Dominecali, mattiacci, arrivebene and binotto have all been poor team principals. The only one among them I thought was a good operator, was probably domenicali.

          1. Ah the old trope that Italians can’t manage, too emotional etc. but they can build the fastest car? Why are the efficient Germans and British not able to beat a team based in Italy? Shouldn’t all British teams be superior since none have italian management? But I agree with Matiacci and Arrivabene did a poor job – but it’s not because they are Italian!

  4. Ah, it is reveiled that they didn’t have any mediums left. Otherwise it would have been a no-brainer.

    But with the Saturday completely washed out, how could they have run out of mediums of Friday alone? Were they never planning to race on the mediums at Ferrari?

  5. Of course that would have been better; but it’s hindsight.

    What surprised me more (same for Leclerc in the early stint) is that Sainz tried the same trick over and over again to overtake Verstappen. If your car is not fast enough to do a normal overtake on the long straight, then you have to mix it up trying something different (like the Leclerc overtakes on the Alpines).
    It’s not guaranteed to work, but at least worth a try, and a better tactic to confuse Verstappen and force him to make a mistake.

  6. I also thought the same because its only 15 laps left, but when you look at Ocon and Alonso who had on the medium, it didnt make any different on Russell who had the hard on and was infront of them

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  7. Exactly what I wrote yesterday after the race!

    It didn’t look like a well thought decision to send SAI (= a tier2 racer) against VER (= a tier1 racer) on little less used low-deg tyres (Hards), coupled with Ferrari’s handicap on the straights, plus the experience of seeing LEC kinda struggling on Hards at the beginning of the race. It was a must to risk a little bit and send SAI back on-track with a softer tyre, maybe the softest tyre available given that there weren’t exactly many laps to go anymore (20-21 laps when the SC was deployed). Most likely 1 more time they threw away a win.

    1. Even the FL times are an indication he had no chance on Hards: SAI’s best lap, with DRS help, was only 0,1sec faster than VER’s best lap time. Just a wasted opportunity.

      1. Even the FL times are an indication he had no chance on Hards: SAI’s best lap, with DRS help, was only 0,1sec faster than VER’s best lap time. Just a wasted opportunity.

        Of course those times are not representative as true FL, as they were racing for position and thus at roughly the same speed.

        1. I didn’t mean the FL times are representative as FL times, but that they’re proof SAI’s pace was worse than VER’s pace since SAI’s FL time had the benefit of DRS yet it was barely faster, obviously not fast enough to overtake.

          1. But when he was following VER, even with DRS, then of course he cannot not go any faster.
            It’s a like train, the last wagon won’t go any faster than the front locomotive.

  8. (sight) Eh, Ferrari strategists, farther and farther from the era of Ferrari and Schumacher dominance, where they would try any strategy and work

  9. Probably for the best anyway. Ferrari don’t need their clear number two getting delusions of grandeur and thinking he should be winning races.

  10. Liked the final comment, that to overtake verstappen you need 5-6 tenths delta, indeed it’s not an easy task. Also true sainz hasn’t been the fastest man on track before this year.

  11. A lot of comments piling on to the Ferrari strategists like it was an obvious call.
    As the article says, they didn’t have another set of medium tyres to put on. Ferrari went into the race with the same number of each compound of fresh tyres as Red Bull (and most of the other frontrunners) so it seemed to be the preferred choice.
    Leclerc did 15 or so laps on the soft tyre in FP2, so they’d have a pretty good idea of what it could do on a long run, and as Sainz said in the article, they weren’t expecting the safety car to be out for so long. Had the safety car come in quickly they may have needed to do 18-19 laps. If he was aggressive enough early in the stint to pass Max then the softs would be cooked and he’d be vulnerable at the end of the race. Had the tyres really gone off and he was significantly slower then Hamilton may have pushed harder at the end and been a threat.

    1. I’m glad there’s still the occasional comment worth reading on here!

      All good points. Softs would have been marginal for 16 laps and would have left Sainz vulnerable to Hamilton for 20.

      Am curious how Ferrari ended up without any mediums by Sunday, however!

    2. If he was aggressive enough early in the stint to pass Max then the softs would be cooked and he’d be vulnerable at the end of the race.

      @davea86

      Alternatively, if they put him on the hards, he would have no chance of passing Max at all. Surely, Ferrari’s strategists have seen Red Bull’s straight line speed, and they also must have heard from the Red Bull pit wall message to Max, that could push as hard as he wanted to on the hard compound without worrying about degradation.

      Still, they chose the option with no potential upside. I don’t think this has anything to do with hindsight… this is just bad decision making that was obvious at the time itself.

  12. mark from toronto
    21st June 2022, 5:39

    Considering the trouble Leclerc had passing Ocon, I dunno what Ferrari were thinking. If LEclerc could not pass Ocon, what chance did Sainz have to pass Max? Ergo, keep track position or go with a softer compound. 6 laps is not material on the hards.

  13. Sainz is just a waste of time. There are many other more talented drivers on the grid, he is just average that’s all. This let alone shows how bad they are managing Ferrari F1 team.

    Reply moderated
  14. Farrari has learned nothing from Mercedes failure to set Hamilton on the softer tyres.

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