Carlos Sainz, Ferrari, Baku City Circuit, 2023

Sainz felt “always very on the limit of crashing” during Azerbaijan GP

2023 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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Carlos Sainz Jnr’s dissatisfaction with his Ferrari’s handling continued in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Having been 0.813 seconds off team mate Charles Leclerc’s pole time in Friday’s qualifying session for the grand prix, Sainz was then 0.59s off Leclerc in the ‘Sprint Shootout’ that set the grid for Saturday’s sprint race and suffered a major lock-up at turn 15. He finished that race in fifth, and said afterwards he was in “damage limitation” mode in the car.

He drove a conservative race on Sunday due to his lack confidence in the car. Sainz finished fifth, 24s behind Leclerc, and fell victim to an opportunistic pass by Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso following the Safety Car restart.

“I think, seeing where Fernando finished, he was always going to finish ahead of me today,” Sainz said. “But nothing new, really. The first stint on the medium [compound tyre], I looked like I found a bit of pace back, and then as soon as I put the hard on my struggles of the weekend appeared again and I just had to bring home a P5.”

“I was always very on the limit of crashing or feeling like I was losing the car,” Sainz admitted. “A pretty long race, and mentally stressful after the struggle of the weekend. Brought home the P5.

“I’m sure we will find out why this happened this weekend, and I’m sure in Miami we’ll be back in form.”

A few tweaks to the front wing put the car’s balance “in a better place”, said Sainz, but he rued “a frustrating long weekend” on Sunday evening and was looking ahead to this weekend’s Miami Grand Prix.

“In a way, I find it positive that the next race is coming quickly, because I can get this one behind me very quickly. And on the other hand, obviously, I probably would need a bit more time. But we’ve turned it around in the past within three or four days, and I expect that we will do the same before Miami.”

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Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching Photography back in the UK. Currently based...
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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6 comments on “Sainz felt “always very on the limit of crashing” during Azerbaijan GP”

  1. Can’t wait to see Carlos drive next year without tire warmers lol. we are all gonna be demanding a DNA test from him to be a Sainz mark my words.

  2. Race in, race out and Sainz is slow as hell.
    He was very likely the slowest of the top 8 this race, but overtaking was more of a problem than usual, if it were not i believe Hamilton, Stroll and Russell would breeze past him easily.

    The dude was farther from Leclerc than Leclerc from Perez. What is going on?

    1. The dude was farther from Leclerc than Leclerc from Perez. What is going on?

      This is not new, but the gap to the teams behind used to be larger. Wouldn’t surprise me to see the two Ferrari drivers split by Alonso and one of the Mercedes quite regularly this season.

  3. I feel for him given the limited amount of time to get the car setup right. On the other hand LeClerc is out passing him soooo

    Will be sad to see Carlos leave Ferrari, as I really enjoy him as a driver

  4. That’s what it feels like when you’re not a very fast driver and you try to keep up.

  5. Not surprised to see a Sainz article on how he wants to ‘turn things around’. He’s not been in Leclerc’s league since the start of last season.. the sooner he accepts it and stops pleading on the radio to avoid team orders, the better for Ferrari, him and the fans.

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