Carlos Sainz, Ferrari, Miami International Autodrome, 2023

Frustrated Sainz says he “cannot push” in races at the moment

2023 Miami Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by and

Carlos Sainz Jnr said his Miami Grand Prix was “tough” as he was unable to extract the maximum from his Ferrari without taking too much life out of his tyres.

Having qualified third on the grid, Sainz dropped to fifth place at the chequered flag, losing positions to Max Verstappen and George Russell during the course of the race.

He made an early pit stop to switch from the medium tyre compound to hards, in a bid to overtake Fernando Alonso for second place. However he soon found his tyre performance started to drop off.

“I was a bit surprised with how much we struggled on the hard tyres after our very strong stint on the medium,” he said. “We tried the undercut on Fernando, obviously it worked but it meant pushing the tyres for three or four laps to get the undercut.

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin, Miami International Autodrome, 2023
Sainz tried to undercut Alonso but his tyres couldn’t take it
“For some reason with our car right now we have zero flexibility with how much we can push. I had to stay under the limit for the rest of the race if I wanted to make it to the end. With the wind conditions, how tough we are on tyres, that hard stint just became too long for us.”

“At the moment I cannot push, especially in the race,” he added. “As soon as you push one lap, you do a good first lap, the next lap you are three-tenths slower.”

Although Sainz was able to jump ahead of Alonso thanks to his earlier pit stop, he soon dropped behind the Aston Martin again.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

“We went for the undercut and it worked,” he said. “It’s just that with hindsight, the car that we have right now, we have very little flexibility to try undercuts or overcuts.

“So it’s just more how limited we are. But in terms of strategy it was the right call at the right time. With hindsight, I think we were never going to finish higher than Fernando.”

He admitted he was “surprised” by the problems “because I thought we were making it better.”

“This race kind of showed us that we still have some work to do,” he admitted.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Bringing the F1 news from the source

RaceFans strives to bring its readers news directly from the key players in Formula 1. We are able to do this thanks in part to the generous backing of our RaceFans Supporters.

By contributing £1 per month or £12 per year (or the equivalent in other currencies) you can help cover the costs involved in producing original journalism: Travelling, writing, creating, hosting, contacting and developing.

We have been proudly supported by our readers for over 10 years. If you enjoy our independent coverage, please consider becoming a RaceFans Supporter today. As a bonus, all our Supporters can also browse the site ad-free. Sign up or find out more via the links below:

2023 Miami Grand Prix

Browse all 2023 Miami Grand Prix articles

Author information

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...
RJ O'Connell
Motorsport has been a lifelong interest for RJ, both virtual and ‘in the carbon’, since childhood. RJ picked up motorsports writing as a hobby...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

22 comments on “Frustrated Sainz says he “cannot push” in races at the moment”

  1. Maybe Ferrari could push Mr Jr … out of their 2nd seat?

    1. I’m surprised that Carlos is using the car as an excuse for his lack of pace. I think he’s lucky that Leclerc had a rubbish weekend in Miami. Few more weekends with Baku’s performance deficit and Ferrari would be looking at other drivers for that 2nd seat. If Ferrari are “restructuring” .. they need to get rid of their pace inefficiency from their driver lineup

  2. That Ferrari has issues here was evident in race 1, but Sainz himself has never been as good with this as Leclerc so there’s probably some work to be done on both sides. It is frustrating that the tyres are such a limiting factor (and to be fair: probably for Red Bull as well).

    As an aside, Sainz seems to have lost about 3 seconds in lap 32. And again over 2 seconds in lap 36. Seems big?

  3. Can we finally admit that Ferrari has mediocre drivers in their seats?

    Yes, they made strategical mistakes last year but their driver lineup is what is their biggest problem.

    Leclerc is in his fifth season and he hasn’t delivered anything close to what Vettel or Alonso did last decade. He’s very quick on a single lap when he has some luck of not crashing. That’s it.

    Sainz is just decent in some races and very poor in the remaining ones. Silverstone was an exception but he had some luck there, too.

    Ferrari needs a driver that doesn’t make mistakes, is very quick and can push them more by actions, not words (or sad songs).

    1. @micio

      Ferrari needs a driver that doesn’t make mistakes, is very quick and can push them more by actions, not words (or sad songs).

      They need an Alonso or Hamilton alongside a young quick talent. Leclerc might improve having a multiple champ as his teammate.

    2. Two years ago this was seen as the best driving pair of the field and everybody was just urging Ferrari to build a decent car. The drivers would do the rest. How things can change.

    3. I don’t agree with some of this comment. I don’t think Leclerc has not done too badly at all. He wasn’t driving a competitive car until last year. Then this year, their car seems to have gone backwards relative to their immediate rivals and is obviously quite difficult to get the best out of.

      Has @micio forgotten Vettel crumbling under pressure and spinning out more than once and he did have a car that was probably capable of winning the championship.

      As for Sainz he is looking pretty mediocre more often than not. More like a no.2 driver as I said a couple of days ago. I think there are probably better alternatives.

      1. Sorry there’s a double negative in the second sentence.

      2. Has @micio forgotten Vettel crumbling under pressure and spinning out more than once and he did have a car that was probably capable of winning the championship.

        Fair point and I definitely remember. I also remember that Vettel lasted longer against Hamilton than Leclerc did against Max last year.

        1. Leclerc definitely made at least 2 obvious mistakes but I think it was mostly down to poor team performance (mistakes. strategy, etc) that Leclerc was not able to make more of a challenge. I just don’t think he’s a big part of Ferrari’s problem. He’s not a mediocre driver. He’s about the only one who can offer some sort of challenge to RBR in the right circumstances. Look at his performance in Baku.

          1. Yeah he’s a one-lap beast and we saw that in Baku. But his race craft is not enough for any championship challenge, sorry. We are still waiting for a race where he wins against all odds. Every great driver and future champion has multiple of such races under their belt.

    4. I don’t agree with the claim the drivers are mediocre either @micio.

      Sainz has raced for multiple teams against strong team-mates and has 8 years experience and is being made to look like 2012 Massa. Leclerc is certainly over-driving this season but I see that as him acting out of frustration due to Ferrari’s performance. Ferrari haven’t produced an easy to drive car since 2017 at best – the 2014 car was a horror show too. In 2018, the SF71H made Vettel look poor on a number of occasions and the 2020 and 2021 cars were atrocious, particularly on the rear. The car last year started strongly – but how much of that can we attribute to the Red Bull being overweight? Since Red Bull got on top of it, Ferrari haven’t had a realistic chance of competing.

      Leclerc in my mind is Villeneuve. Rapid, full commitment but needs to be more circumspect on when to push. That said, Ferrari need to give him a car which has solid race pace as oppose to a qualifier which he has had for the majority of his career. He can’t come back through the field and win against the odds if he’s starting ahead of where the car’s race pace is.

      1. + 1. A good point. Leclerc is often out-qualifying his car for want of a better phrase. It’s worrying though that Ferrari seem to have little idea how to improve their design in a consistent way.

      2. Leclerc in my mind is Villeneuve.

        That I can agree with. This means that Leclerc needs a car that just destroys the opposition and a bad teammate to fight for a championship.

        @phil-f1-21 @rbalonso You both seem to assume that “it’s the car”. However we don’t really know how good the car is if we don’t see any proven high performer drive it, do we?

        Food for thought: Do you think that Alonso would have had just a single podium this year in a Ferrari?

        1. Very good – I’m sure you’re aware the comparison is with Gilles.

          Leclerc is a high performer. He’s comfortably beaten both Vettel and Sainz who had strong reputations when Charles beat them. He’s also scored the most poles in a season for Ferrari since 1974/5. So he’s undoubtedly a front runner – I’ve never seen anyone question his pace, it’s his crashes that come under scrutiny. I’d certainly say that given that Carlos and Charles have different strengths and Charles is consistently ahead that Charles is extracting the maximum from the package, although clearly not the results.

          With regard to Alonso, refer to my reply below – it’s difficult to say whether Fernando would’ve had the pace in quali in Bahrain or Baku. It’s worth pointing out, in the five races, Leclerc has finished 3rd once, been compromised by Ferrari twice and compromised himself twice. I think if Charles took the Alonso-Ferrari approach and played the long game he might have better results I agree – but he’s in the Senna ‘win is better than points’ phase of his career.

          Fundamentally, all the greats have a wobbly season as part of their development – this is Charles. But he’s still got the skillset to be a multiple Champion in the right car.

          1. I hope you are right, it’d be great if you did, for the sake of the show…

            But I am not convinced, beating Sainz and post-2018 broken Vettel is not enough. I need to see some racing magic from him to count him as a top F1 driver.

            I’ve never seen anyone question his pace

            I have never questioned it, too. You just don’t win championships (or score points) with pole positions ;)

  4. Reminds me of 2013 Mercedes – they were racking up poles, but would go backwards in the races up to even 8 place. They need to sort out their car. I don’t think that now drivers is their biggest problem. If they were fighting for championship and their drivers were letting them down, you could say that. Yes, Leclerc makes mistakes and it still surprises me. Sainz has unaccaptable deficit to Leclerc. But even if we put Hamilton, Alonso or Verstapen in that car, it won’t win any races. So first sort the car, which is has really huge deficit in races and unaccaptable performance.

    1. If they were fighting for championship and their drivers were letting them down

      Like Leclerc did in 2022?

      But even if we put Hamilton, Alonso or Verstapen in that car, it won’t win any races.

      Please find one person here that thinks Hamilton, Alonso, or Verstappen wouldn’t have won more races in 2022 Ferrari than Leclerc did.

      1. I think Leclerc had a very strong 2022. It’s whether in this hypothetical scenario the drivers are racing the same car, with the same characteristics as part of the same team.

        For example, had Alonso been there would he have scored 9 poles – I doubt it. But would his experience have overruled the team in Monaco or Britain, perhaps. Would Hamilton have raced Max as hard as Charles did in Bahrain and Austria? If Max is in the Ferrari, who is in the Red Bull?

        I think if we look at Leclerc’s season 9 poles, 3 wins and 5 messed up GPs where he should have won, albeit 1 which is his error, I think he can consider that a good return. Bear in mind Sainz was nowhere near him all year. So I think Fernando and Lewis would have won a similar number of races, Max maybe one more in France, but he is the reigning Champion. What’s without doubt though is that Ferrari cost Leclerc a lot more than Leclerc cost Ferrari.

      2. @micio I was actually talking about this year. Last year they had great car from the go and the situation was different. If you said last year Ferrari’s problem was their drivers, it would be partly true. But again, last year half of the points were wasted by the team (strategy, reliability) and half by Leclerc (I’m talking about WDC). If they had fast, realiable car this year and their strategy was top notch, you could really say their drivers are letting team down. But that’s lots of ifs and now we have what we have. Of course, such drivers as Alonso, Hamilton or Verstappen were probably scoring bigger points than Leclerc and Sainz, but would not be fighting for wins and championships.

  5. I luv chicken
    9th May 2023, 0:12

    Ferrari is operating like an Italian race team. All that’s missing is plates of pasta being thrown around, arms waving at each other, and cut throat signs among the team members. Even though your heart wants them to succeed, you want more of their miserable failure. Every weekend, something new happens. Can’t wait for Frederic Vasseur to star answering only in French.

Comments are closed.