Sainz faces a different challenge in Australia
Carlos Sainz is headed back to Australia, the same place where he faced his lowest point in Formula 1 last year. However, he finds himself in a different situation this year, experiencing a disappointing start to the season but with a different perspective.
However, he is currently in a very different situation compared to 12 months ago, as he is experiencing a disappointing start to the season but with a different perspective. Although he is not pleased with the performance of the 2023 Ferrari and the resulting outcomes, he is less worried about his own driving than he was a year ago.
Despite Carlos Sainz achieving better results than his Ferrari teammate, with a fourth-place finish in Bahrain and sixth place in Saudi Arabia, he has been considered the weaker performer of the two. In Bahrain qualifying, Charles Leclerc was faster than Sainz by 0.154 seconds, and during the race, Leclerc was ahead by nine seconds before his retirement.
During the Jeddah Corniche circuit qualifying session, Carlos Sainz was slightly over half a second slower than his teammate, which was made worse by Sainz underperforming on Saturday. However, during the race, Sainz managed to finish one place ahead of Leclerc due to Leclerc’s 10-place grid penalty, which made it more challenging for him to catch up on Sunday.
Carlos Sainz expressed during the pre-season testing his desire to avoid repeating the mistakes of the previous year and to have a strong start to the season. He acknowledged the importance of being better prepared for the first race, especially after experiencing a disappointing start to the previous season. This low point came when he ended up in the gravel on the second lap of the Australian race.
Carlos Sainz is known for providing honest evaluations of his own performances, but he is currently less worried about his driving abilities. Instead, he is more focused on addressing the weaknesses of the Ferrari SF-23, which he sees as the main issue affecting his results.
In response to a question by F1Lead about his performance, Carlos Sainz stated, “I haven’t performed well in two qualifying sessions, but I am satisfied with the feeling I have with the car.” Sainz believes that the biggest challenge he is facing is the car’s performance in dirty air and during the first stint of the Bahrain race. He explained that following another car is difficult due to the car’s overheating issues, which are already present when driving alone and worsen when following another car. This issue is his primary concern.
Apart from his qualifying performance, Carlos Sainz is content with the feeling of the car during free practice sessions. Sainz explained that he has not yet been able to deliver his best laps during qualifying with this car, but he is not overly concerned about it. He is confident that with time and practice, his performance will improve as the season progresses and he becomes more accustomed to the car.
Despite not achieving the results he desires, Carlos Sainz has maintained a consistent performance during the races and is still able to secure points for the team. Although he acknowledges that these points may not be the ideal ones and that he would like to be fighting for podiums and wins, he understands that the team is not yet at that level. Therefore, his focus is on accumulating points and working on developing the car to improve its performance.
Carlos Sainz has never had much success at Albert Park, as it has not been a favorable track for him in the past. His best performance at this circuit was an eighth-place finish in 2017 when he was driving for Toro Rosso. Additionally, he has also achieved a couple of ninth-place finishes and a 10th place finish while driving for Renault in 2018.
Carlos Sainz’s performance in last year’s race at Albert Park was a disaster, which was largely self-inflicted but also partially due to some misfortune. During qualifying, he described his performance as a “disaster,” as a red flag came at an inopportune time, and he also experienced problems starting his car, which prevented him from completing a proper tire preparation lap. As a result, he qualified ninth on the grid.
Just before the race, Carlos Sainz had to change his steering wheel, which resulted in incorrect settings at the start of the race, causing the car to go into anti-stall. None of these issues were Sainz’s fault, but he admitted that his reaction to the situation was poor.
During the first lap of the race, Carlos Sainz made an overly ambitious move to go around the outside of Yuki Tsunoda, which allowed Mick Schumacher to overtake him. Consequently, he fell back to 14th place. On the second lap, he managed to pass Schumacher, but then he ran wide at Turn 9, causing him to spin back across the track and end up in the Turn 10 gravel. Sainz later explained that the mistake occurred due to his eagerness to make up positions quickly. He admitted that it was a driving error caused by the rush of wanting to come back through the field.
Carlos Sainz had a difficult start to the 2022 campaign, and his experience at the Australian Grand Prix was a low point. He struggled with the car’s demands during the practice sessions, and after finishing second in Bahrain the previous year, he felt that he was very far behind. He described the weekend as his most challenging one. His difficult period only came to an end after he became more accustomed to the car and had a strong performance in the ninth race of the season in Canada, where he finished second.
Unlike last year, the main issue for Carlos Sainz this season is the car’s performance. Although the car is fast over a single lap, it struggles to maintain the same pace over a full stint, and Sainz’s priority is to improve the car’s performance. Although the SF-23 is not the easiest car to handle, Sainz doesn’t believe that he has a fundamental problem with unlocking its potential, as he did last year.
Carlos Sainz’s return to Australia will serve as a reminder of his difficulties during the race last year, which resulted in him losing his composure while attempting to recover from setbacks beyond his control. However, with those issues now resolved, he may face a different challenge this year as Ferrari strives to keep pace with Red Bull, which could be frustrating for him and the team.
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