Carlos Sainz Jnr says Ferrari must improve their starts after their cars’ poor getaways cost them the advantage of their front row lock-out in the Mexico City Grand Prix.Max Verstappen swept past Sainz and pole-winner Charles Leclerc in the other Ferrari within seconds of the start yesterday. Verstappen’s team-mate Sergio Perez also passed Sainz before colliding with Leclerc. It came after Leclerc also lost the lead from pole position in Austin a week earlier.
“We need to have a look at the starts,” said Sainz after the race. “We both didn’t get a very good launch.
“I think Charles and I got away very similar and then Verstappen was just very quick off the line.”
The team looked long and hard at how to improve its starts at the low-grip Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, said Sainz.
“We’ve been struggling a bit with the starts since FP1 at this surface and with this grip,” he explained. “We probably didn’t get everything perfect for this weekend after some very strong starts recently. So it’s something to look at.”
Sainz said the first start was “very chaotic, like always in Mexico.”
“It was very tricky braking into turn one, everyone tries to outbrake themselves to try and keep position and I think Checo was the unlucky one, Charles probably a lucky one and it’s how it is, it’s racing and it’s always going to happen here in turn one in Mexico.”
He said “it was the jump” off the line where Verstappen had the advantage to get ahead on lap one, as “already at the jump I saw Max alongside me, so it looks like there’s something to analyse there.”
The Ferraris performed better in the standing restart that took place on lap 36, maintaining their grid positions of second and fourth despite being on the hard tyre compound. Sainz ended up on the grass alongside the pit straight as Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton moved across in front of him.
“I cannot even remember what happened,” Sainz admitted. “There was so much going on that I need to look back at the start and see what happened.
“I also got boxed into the grass and I had to take avoiding action, so it just shows that one day it’s for you, one day it’s for me. It’s just all of us fighting for each position like crazy and it’s good fun.”
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