Carlos Sainz Jr, Ferrari, Zandvoort, 2023

Ferrari had the “sixth or seventh fastest car” at Zandvoort – Sainz

2023 Dutch Grand Prix

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Carlos Sainz Jnr was satisfied to finish fifth in the Dutch Grand Prix as he believes most of Ferrari’s rivals had quicker cars than them last weekend.

Having qualified sixth, Sainz lost a place after his team mate pitted before him during the first rain shower. However he quickly repassed Charles Leclerc and Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu to run fifth.

Sainz was unable to catch and pass Pierre Gasly’s Alpine, and finished the race holding off Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes.

“At some point it looked like we could fight for a podium,” he said. “But the reality is that when the race was settled, when you look at our pace, we were just nowhere in terms of pace.

“But we managed to execute a really good race. We were fighting the whole race with people that were not on our pace, not in our race, fighting a lot quicker cars than us. So we have to be happy and proud of a well-executed P5. I’m obviously not happy with the feeling of the car and how much I struggled out there.”

Ferrari often had the second-quickest car in qualifying early in the season, but Sainz felt they were far less competitive at Zandvoort.

“I would say after looking at the Alpine [we were] more the sixth-fastest car this weekend,” he said. “But we knew going into the race and going into yesterday’s quali that we were just lacking this weekend and we had to focus on maximising a good result or a decent result, and we did that today.

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“Even in the last stint when I knew I had a worn set of inters left to put on for the last seven laps and the tyres were destroyed from yesterday’s quali, I still managed to keep Hamilton behind and bring home a P5 that was honestly not on the cards I think sometimes today.”

While Ferrari have drawn criticism for their tactical calls in some races, Sainz was pleased with the team’s efforts on Sunday, despite admitting he “stayed out one lap too long for sure” when the rain fell at the start.

“I think everyone almost in the top five did stay out because we thought it was going to be a short shower. Honestly it was good execution today, we cannot fault anyone. We did the maximum we could, and as I said sixth or seventh fastest car.”

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“Today we nailed the calls,” he added. “Except for the first stop that we should have boxed on the first lap of the race and we stayed out one extra lap, everything else we nailed. Even the pace at the beginning of the race on a new inter was really good.

“Then as the race settled down and in mixed conditions, I was quick but when the race settled down, we were just back to our normal pace. But a lot of attacking, a lot of defending, had fun out there, but the reality is that, once the race settled, we were nowhere.”

Given the weakness of the Ferrari SF-23’s performance, Sainz believes he produced one of his best drives of the year.

“Especially this season it’s one of the best, top three for sure, because of how tricky it was out,” he said. “Through turns nine and 10, turn one also you saw with Lewis how much he was catching in turn one, there’s just something there that we were struggling a lot with. But it has to be one of my best drives of the season.”

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2023 Dutch Grand Prix

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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...
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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15 comments on “Ferrari had the “sixth or seventh fastest car” at Zandvoort – Sainz”

  1. To be fair on race day it looked like Alpine, Mercedes, Mclaren, Williams, Aston Martin and Ferrari were fairly close on pace. The mixed start for some really threw everything up in the air. Hamilton clearly spent a lot of his race stuck behind traffic so we only saw brief glimpses in between overtakes of his pace. I think Mercedes probably had a car that was second fastest but hard to prove given where their drivers were after lap one. After Mercedes though it looked pretty close for the other teams mentioned, I think Alonso and Aston Martin just executed a very good clean race.

  2. Coventry Climax
    29th August 2023, 12:52

    If any teams plan to get their hands on either Leclerc or Sainz, now is the time. It is clear to see for all that neither is happy where they are.
    If only Lawrence were to give his son another job within the team. There’s sufficient money there to pay for either of the -currently- Ferrari boys, and it would bring a sound challenge there.
    Even at Mercedes there would be options as I can’t see Hamilton going on all that much longer.

    Ferrari isn’t moving forward, it’s dropping down the order. It could be changed, but the spaghetti that Ferrari is, is currently way to difficult to untangle and straighten out. Overcooked and sticky. Time to open up a fresh package, replace everone, right from the bottom all the way up to the top.
    And that won’t happen with those egos, despite them always saying noone is bigger than Ferrari.

    1. Another way to look at the current situation is that both Leclerc and Sainz are mediocre drivers and they are not driving their Ferraris to the fullest potential.

      I know it’s controversial but it’s easy to predict that Alonso or Hamilton would have been higher in this Ferrari.

      1. Coventry Climax
        29th August 2023, 21:48

        Sure, if that’s the way you want to look at it, be my guest. My comment started with “If any teams..” which also means that if there aren’t any..

        And yes, easy to predict, but whether that makes it true? Alonso never managed to get that title with Ferrari, for one. Both current Ferrari drivers complain about the car, Ferrari say the know exactly what the issue is, yet we see no attempts to adress it. Then there’s the typical Ferrari panic with the pitstops, (oh dear, a car coming in, what do we do?) the abominable strategic choices, etc. Actually, they’re just a lousy team and it’s a miracle they even manage to be where they are.

    2. Yes, Ferrari is Italian. So what? For all their lackluster races, they’re still 4th in the championship.

      Vasseur may well have canned this failed project from Binotto – the worst Ferrari team principal in decades – early to focus on 2024, leaving them with no other option but to ride out the season with this car. They certainly seem to be slipping back a bit. But anyway, @micio isn’t wrong that neither Leclerc nor Sainz is doing all that great this season. It’s been a very mediocre effort from both of them, with very few highlights and especially in Leclerc’s case, too many shenanigans.

      1. Vasseur may well have canned this failed project from Binotto – the worst Ferrari team principal in decades – early to focus on 2024

        Maybe, but how does that explain the questionable pitwall/strategy calls and poor pitstop executions. Or will he start the retraining only after this season?

  3. No Carlos, Ferrari was 17th out of 10 teams. It was all you. You are so awesome.


    1. In addition to the obvious Red Bull and Aston Martin, Mercedes, McLaren and Alpine also looked quicker than Ferrari during much of the race. Not always, so perhaps casting Ferrari as the 7th fastest car is a bit of a self-congratulatory stretch on Sainz’ behalf, but still, he had a decent result considering the car he had. If McLaren and Mercedes hadn’t bungled the response to the first shower, it’s hard to see how Sainz could have finished where he did.

    2. Yeah… I think Sainz could take a F3 car and put it on pole in F1. He is a magnificent driver.. with loads of talent and speed that he displays to us every race weekend. His consistency, pace and racing prowess are a league above everyone else’s. I’ve never seen any driver punch above the car’s weight on such a regular basis .. as Sainz does.

  4. So he hints that finishing 5th he is the one who can drag the 6th fastest car above all expectations?

    1. Coventry Climax
      29th August 2023, 21:51

      Yes, and in that respect he fits right in with that team.

  5. Everyone knocking Carlos Sainz in the comments should note that Scott Mitchell-Malm of “The Race” said something along the lines of “Ferrari had the sixth fastest car today didn’t it” in his post-race interview. Sainz then gave the answer set out above. Mitchell-Malm mentions this in The Race’s post-race podcast.

    Sainz didn’t say this voluntarily, he responded to a question which he was asked. He’s not throwing the team under the bus.

    Always remember: Context is important.

    1. Nah, context is sooo boring. Headlines only please :)

  6. If going this way with the narrative, why not state it was the 10th fastest car

Comments are closed.