Carlos Sainz: The DNFs hurt, but I’m patient and the F1 season is long

Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz may have just renewed his contract until 2024, but the Spaniard is not having the season he envisioned, with a series of DNFs hampering his progress.

The Spanish driver has shown glimpses of his pace but has so far struggled to put together a consistent weekend, with two second places at Bahrain and Monaco his best results of the year.

Sainz has now spoken to MARCA after having to retire first in Baku, where the Italian team failed to capitalise on the potential of their car.

FOTO COLOMBO IMAGESMARCA

This is the first time you competed in Azerbaijan with the same team twice in a row, although not with the same car. Is the 2022 car so different that it’s as if it were a new team?

“Yes, this year all the circuits are as if you are with a new car, but it’s the same for all the drivers. Monaco, for example, was completely different because of the way the new car behaves. Barcelona too, it’s all half new experiences. But, the best thing is that because the car is competitive it goes well at almost all the circuits.”

Do you arrive at the circuits like Monaco and Baku feeling that achieving victory could be natural?

“Maybe, maybe yes, I aspire to win every race I go to. I try to win and I try to get my first victory. My motivation doesn’t change and I prepare for it. In fact, it could have come in Monaco as well, in almost any race with a little bit more luck. You have to be patient to keep calm and, even if you are not 100 percent with the car, keep achieving podiums and good results.”

After these last races in which you have cut the points deficit to Charles Leclerc, although not to Red Bull, do you see yourself in a position to fight for the world championship? Do you still think about that?

“No, not really, in that sense my approach has changed a bit because it’s true that with the DNFs I got far behind in the world championship. They hurt, and from that point I preferred not to think about the championship. Also because I saw that I wasn’t comfortable enough with the car to go for pole positions and victories and maybe the impetus to win and take pole positions also meant that maybe I made a few mistakes too many. My strength has always been my consistency and knowing how to wait for my moments, my end of the year, which has always been very good, so I think I have to be a bit more patient this year and wait until I feel a bit more comfortable with the car, a bit more at 100 percent to go on the attack. Of course, if I feel comfortable like in Monaco, I will go for it because there I could win without the blue flag, but I think you have to adjust the objectives and the risk for the feeling with the car.”

We’ve now had seven races and that would have been half a season before, yet now it is not even a third. Would you like F1 to continue to grow to 25 races and become so Americanised? Do you like marathon seasons that run almost from Christmas to Christmas?

“Well, they force you to look at everything philosophically. When I arrived, there were 18 or 19 races and each one was a final and now as the totals go up you have to think that it is a sport in which things depend very little on the driver, you depend on a number of factors for a weekend to be perfect. I think it is one of the sports where there are more external factors that can affect the result. And that’s why it’s hard to think that every race is a final, you have to see the whole year, that in the end something will happen to all of us, a bad pit stop, a mistake, an engine problem. There will always be one of those a year and you have to keep a cool head so you don’t think that it’s all over.”