For Carlos Sainz Ferrari at Paul Ricard restarts from what had been the findings that emerged in Barcelona at the beginning of May. The Spaniard dismissed the verdicts of Monaco and Baku as a parenthesis, two atypical tracks that enhance some of the car’s characteristics. With the farewell to the walls and the return to the escape routes, Sainz indicates the opponents with whom the Cavallino will have to contend, namely McLaren (in front of everyone), then Alpine and AlphaTauri. This is Carlos’s line: don’t feed hopes that don’t have a technical basis to back them up.
After the Baku race you seemed a bit frustrated …
“Yes, from a personal point of view I think it was probably the most frustrating weekend of the season, with a competitive car I didn’t get what I hoped to get both Saturday and Sunday, so as a driver I left Baku quite frustrated with myself and with the weekend in general “.
“Overall, I think it was a positive weekend for the team, on a track with less downforce and a very long straight, but on Saturday we managed to be competitive for pole position. In the race we then returned to where we expected to be at the eve of the weekend, and in light of what we have seen we can say that the qualifying went beyond the premises. The race helped to calm our expectations a bit and reminded us that we are not yet where we want to be, we are still fighting for try to be competitive like leaders “.
What are your expectations for this weekend?
“Well, I don’t think our rivals will have many problems getting the tires up to temperature in qualifying like two weeks since in Baku, where tire management was one of our strengths, especially on Saturday. As I said, in the race we then revised more normal performances, so I expect that this weekend the framework of values on the field will be more similar to the Baku race, and we will have to fight with McLaren, Alpine and AlphaTauri ”.
On this track you have always achieved important performances, do you have a particular feeling?
“Good question… it’s a track that reminds me of good memories. Here I put the World Series by Renault title in the safe, the championship that gave me the passport to get to Formula 1, and I remember it had been a very stressful weekend. I had to win to show Red Bull and Helmut Marko that I really wanted my place in Formula 1, and that weekend I was able to make my two races on the schedule. “
“That weekend was very important for my career, and since then Paul Ricard has a special place for me. In Formula 1 at this circuit I managed to get some good points, both with Renault and with McLaren, and also if it’s not my favorite, I can say that I’ve always liked this track ”.
Ferrari confirmed an important performance in qualifying, but then on Sunday the potential is not the same. What is the cause of this decline? What are the fronts you still have to work on?
“We have to evaluate race by race. For example, in Monaco we had a speed that allowed us to fight for both pole and victory. When we went to Baku we thought we would be slower than in Monaco, but then we saw that in qualifying we were actually one of the most competitive teams, mainly thanks to tire management. Then on Sunday we actually went back to where we expected to be before the weekend, that is half a second behind the leaders on race pace “.
“I think we can interpret tire management well in qualifying, but it’s not our real pace, I think we still have a slower car than the leaders at most of the circuits on the calendar. So let’s keep our heads down this weekend. it will take us back to where we were in Barcelona and Bahrain, we have to start over from this evaluation after making stops on two very special circuits such as Monaco and Baku ”.
Ferrari versus McLaren. Where do you see the specific strengths of these two cars and how do you see this comparison in the next races?
“I think the differences in performance of these two cars are very clear to see by reading the GPS data. I’ve been lucky enough to drive that car (the McLaren) for the past few years, while now I know what Ferrari’s strengths and weaknesses are compared to McLaren. But I also have to consider that McLaren has a Mercedes power unit this year, which is really very fast, both in qualifying and in the race, it’s quite impressive. “
“So, yes, I know the differences. I think you have the basic information, that is we are faster in the low speed corners, while they are faster on the straights and in the high speed corners. In this picture the average performance between the two teams has some ups and downs, as the type of track changes, the values on the pitch change, always with a bit of advantage in our favor in qualifying and for them in the race. It is difficult to make predictions, but we know our opponents and we will try to conclude this confrontation in our favor ”.