Carlos Sainz has been racing in the pinnacle of motorsport for 8 years and now has 150 Formula One race starts to his name. With 11 podiums in his career but five of those coming in 2022 (including three P2s), Sainz seems to be getting over his early issues. This has resulted in Scuderia Ferrari Team Principal, Mattia Binotto, praising the Spaniard and the fact he is ‘driving faster and faster’. This past Sunday at the Canadian Grand Prix saw the Spanish racer push Max Verstappen all the way but have to settle for P2 once again. However, such form is good reason for an expectation of a first Formula One victory for Carlos Sainz sooner rather than later.
Scuderia Ferrari Team Principal Mattia Binotto spoke after Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix in an online press conference to select media which included Motorlat. Binotto commented on the pace of Carlos Sainz and agreed the Spaniard did all he could during the Canadian Grand Prix. However, it was mentioned too that qualifying performance made Sunday more of a struggle for Sainz.
This is all a far cry from the numerous crashes which had been standout images for Carlos Sainz’ season earlier on this year. Now, having secured points in four of the last five Grands Prix, which includes three podiums, things appear to be on the up for the popular Spanish racer.
Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix saw Carlos Sainz push Max Verstappen all the way after benefiting from a late Safety Car. Even running on tyres which were 6 laps younger, Sainz was unable to pass reigning F1 Drivers’ World Champion Max Verstappen and instead, after 15 laps of hounding the Dutchman, crossed the finish line under a second behind. While Max Verstappen increased his win tally to 26, Carlos Sainz was given the unenviable title of being seventh on the list of drivers with most races - but no victory.
Carlos Sainz had told the media post-race “I gave it my all to pass the Red Bull.” During Sunday’s Scuderia Ferrari press conference, Motorlat asked Team Principal Mattia Binotto if he agreed that this was the case or was something left on the table?
“No, I think Carlos had a strong race today, he tried everything. As he said, he had good attempts he was very, very close and so we can be very happy with today getting more confidence.” Mattia Binotto said. These comments showed he is clearly impressed with the recent consistency shown by Carlos Sainz, but he did go on to explain where he felt the damage was done.
"To win with such a close fight with Red Bull and Max, you need to be perfect over the entire weekend and if anything, maybe the qualy was not perfect from Carlos. That cost him a bit maybe because being ahead or chasing certainly it's a different matter." Binotto concluded on the matter.
This change in form is most welcome at Scuderia Ferrari as they need Carlos Sainz, and not just the supremely gifted Charles Leclerc, to be firing on all cylinders if they stand any chance of getting back into either title race. Scuderia Ferrari’s last victory was at the Australian Grand Prix and since then, Red Bull Racing have achieved six successive victories and lead both F1 World Championships. Moreover, Sunday seemed very much the drive of a champion from Max Verstappen as had there not been a late Safety Car it is fair to assume the victory would have been even more dominant.
Having previously stated that he was struggling with his F1-75, helped in part by a third DNF of the season in Baku, Carlos Sainz’ Montreal moment will no doubt rejuvenate the racer. Memorable moves from Montreal saw Sainz quickly get in front of Fernando Alonso for P2, and he was also the quickest car on track. So much so that he claimed the DHL Fastest Lap award and took a point away from Red Bull Racing and Max Verstappen in the process. Such a performance was not a surprise to Mattia Binotto. Comments which will again surely fill Sainz with confidence.
“Honestly, it was not a surprise…If you look at the race sim on Friday, Carlos was very strong already and we were very close to the Red Bulls. So, we knew we could fight; how much closer it would have been after Friday, no idea, but we know that our car is competitive. Carlos is gaining confidence with the car, he is driving faster and faster and it’s good to see that… he was certainly as fast, if not slightly faster, than Max.” Binotto concluded.
Retirements for Carlos Sainz in Saudi Arabia, Imola and Azerbaijan appear to now be forgotten and this momentum is great to see with a trip to Silverstone next up. With the form that Sainz is in, coupled with the pace of the Ferrari, the British Grand Prix would certainly be a special venue for a maiden F1 win. If Sainz hopes to stand any chance, he will need to continue to drive ‘faster and faster’ and it will just be another reason why the 2022 F1 season is an unmissable one.