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HomeMotorsportsCarlos Sainz insists: Canada was just a slip-up

Carlos Sainz insists: Canada was just a slip-up

How Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz assesses his chances in the Formula 1 race in Spain after his retirement in Canada and whether he is a candidate to win at home

“Of course we had expected to do better in Canada,” says Carlos Sainz. At the Formula 1 race in Montreal, Ferrari failed to score any points for the first time in the 2024 season. That should not happen again in Sainz’s home race in Barcelona

Sainz himself is confident that Ferrari has drawn the necessary conclusions from the analysis to get back to normal form at the Spanish Grand Prix. He says: “Unfortunately, we didn’t do everything right with the tires in Canada. It was probably also a bit down to the set-up. And so we had a bad weekend there.”

But the bottom line is that this is no reason to panic. Because he classifies the Canadian Grand Prix as a slip-up for Ferrari, says Sainz: “In a calendar with 24 races, there will always be races where you drive at a really high level and others where it doesn’t work out. But I think we’ve learned from that.”

In addition, the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is now a “much more normal track”, which is well known in Formula 1 circles from many previous races and, above all, test drives. “We know the set-up here. We know how to drive the warm-up lap and the fast lap,” says Sainz. “So hopefully we get it right and are much stronger here. “

How realistic is a home win for Sainz in Spain?

Because Sainz is dreaming of his first Formula 1 home win in front of his fans in Spain. He cannot “describe how important or special this victory would feel”, especially with his Ferrari retirement at the end of the season sealed and his future Formula 1 career unclear. Sainz is still without a cockpit for 2024, even though he has offers from several teams.

All the more reason for him to seize his chance with Ferrari. “And there is always a chance,” Sainz emphasizes. “But I’d rather wait until after Friday practice to really be able to say how big that chance is.”

He estimates it to be “very small” at the moment, because he still knows how dominant Red Bull has been on similar race tracks so far. “But if we see a tight field like in Imola, where we were one or two tenths away from pole, or like in Miami with the McLarens, or if we dominate like in Monaco …” But that is just speculation a few hours before the start of practice in Barcelona

For Sainz, the pressure to succeed is an additional source of strength

However, the general euphoria ahead of his home race spurs him on even more, says Sainz. He loves the pressure of driving in front of his own fans. “I think it just puts me in a better mood when I see people cheering me on and giving me that positive energy. You smile more, you laugh more, you’re just more motivated. “

There is “no magic button” in the car that “suddenly makes you go faster” when activated. “But Barcelona is still one of my best tracks, where I have statistically scored more points. And maybe there’s a reason for that. Yes, I hope that this can give us a small advantage. “

What are the benefits of the Ferrari updates in Spain?

Sainz is hoping for a completely different kind of advantage from various new parts for the Ferrari SF-24 and at least “a small increase in downforce, which will help us to be faster everywhere,” is how the Ferrari driver puts it.

In general, however, his team remains true to its previous philosophy of only changing the race car in detail. “But I hope it will make a difference, especially when you consider how tight the field is now, as Mercedes also seem to have entered the battle. And we are within a tenth of McLaren and Red Bull pretty much every weekend. So every little help is useful,” says Sainz.

Sainz: Red Bull remains the favorite, but …

Because Red Bull in particular must still be considered the favorite. “But I also think that McLaren will look very strong in the fast corners here. And now the team is no longer weak in slow corners either.” At Mercedes, on the other hand, Sainz wants to wait and see “exactly what effect the update will have” and whether the Canadian form will become a trend.

“And, of course, we have to see whether Ferrari can return to its Monaco form and, with a small upgrade, perhaps also be good on high-speed circuits and in tire management.”

“That’s why I say the field is extremely compact and at the same time it’s a big question mark. It is simply very difficult, probably until the third free practice session, to judge who will be the fastest. But that’s actually pretty exciting for everyone,” says Sainz.

Either way, he expects a “hectic Q1 and Q2” in qualifying, “similar to Canada”. Reason: “At this stage of the year, it gets tighter and tighter. The first four or five teams are all within one or two tenths of each other. So you can’t do anything wrong, as we saw in Canada. That showed how close it is and how important qualifying is. “

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