Despite the fact he's still taking his first steps as a "cavallino" driver, Carlos Sainz's impact in the Ferrari world was definitely positive.
The Iberian arrived in Maranello to be a solid shoulder to Charles Leclerc, and the 1994 class immediately guaranteed an eighth and a fifth place to the cause: precious points in the run-up of the Scuderia led by Mattia Binotto towards the third place in the constructors' standings, firmly occupied by McLaren, Sainz's former team.
“That’s something… I [set] myself as homework over the winter and I’ve been working really hard” said Sainz, speaking to F1 TV, in Imola.
“I’ve been spending a lot of time in the factory and I’m working very hard with the guys. I’m still far off from being the Carlos of McLaren and I know that and the team knows that" he added.
Despite the performances shown so far, Sainz is also aware that he is not yet at the same levels seen at McLaren, to do so he needs to find the right balance with the SF21.
The Spaniard, completing his analysis, added:
“But I have flashes of a lot of speed like we saw in Bahrain qualifying. We saw it again today in the wet that I was flying in some laps, even in the mixed conditions. So there’s some very good flashes out there and now we just need to keep working, let the races go by and all the experience will join together and it will make me stronger.”
During the Italian weekend, distinguished by variable weather conditions, he was the protagonist of an excellent comeback that took him from the eleventh to the fifth place.
“Today actually we were very close – I must say that the podium was two seconds away and I lost 10 seconds by going in the gravel" he said referring to Ferrari's performance in Imola.
“So the podium was not far away today, even starting 11th like I was starting. The pace is encouraging, my feeling with the car in the wet is encouraging, and even in the dry I could keep up with Charles and Lando – we were pushing each other a lot"
The Monegasque delivered a better performance in Bahrain and Imola, but that was predictable because of his experience with the Maranello team, while Sainz only had a day and a half of testing to try the SF21.
“So there’s some positive signs out there, I just need to put a whole weekend together. But today considering I was starting 11th, I did a couple of mistakes, first time in the wet and all that, I cannot be too disappointed with a recovery to fifth.” he concluded.