2022 Abu Dhabi GP: Carlos Sainz wary of Mercedes threat

The gap between Ferrari and Mercedes in the constructors’ championship has closed to 19 points with only one race to go.

Mercedes’ one-two finish in Brazil was a monumental result for a number of reasons.

Firstly it saw the team secure their first win of the season, and prove that all the hard work following their early season struggles have paid off, but it also saw the Silver Arrows close the gap to Ferrari in the constructors’ championship to 19 points.

The Scuderia initially looked like the team to beat this season as they shocked the world with a one-two finish at the season opener in Bahrain, despite all they eyes being on a potential Red Bull and Mercedes title fight.

The team carried on strong, battling for race wins for the majority of the season, but reliability issues and strategy errors saw the team fall away from a dominant Red Bull team who ended up winning the constructors’ championship in Austin.

READ: Lewis Hamilton not accepting Sebastian Vettel’s retirement

It could yet get worse for Ferrari as Mercedes have found their true pace in recent weeks, battling for wins in Austin and Mexico before securing their first last weekend in Brazil.

The Silver Arrows are arguably now favourites in Abu Dhabi and Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz has called on his team to secure a strong result if they wish to fend off the team from Brackley.

“I think in Austin I could have fought for the win and in Brazil Mercedes had the edge, but with a clean weekend, starting P2 and all that, I think we could have fought for the win,” said Sainz.

“It’s not going to be an easy thing for them. We just need to focus on getting the two cars up there in the podium places and then nothing will happen.

Article continues below

“But if they dominate the weekend, they do a one-two, then there is where it starts getting complicated, because it means we need to finish third and fourth.

“So it depends also on their competitiveness. But I believe that we can also finish the year on a high.”

READ: Sergio Perez criticised for ‘personal insult’ against Max Verstappen

On a personal note it has been a mixed year for Sainz, who has struggled for a consistent run of results.

The Spaniard has shown that he has adapted to his move to Ferrari from McLaren, picking up his first pole position and first win in Silverstone, however mechanical failures and bad luck in first lap incidents have seen the 28-year-old DNF from multiple races, stopping him from developing any momentum.

Sainz and Ferrari will hope that 2023 brings more consistency and confidence, as the team look to get back to their historic winning ways.