Carlos Sainz hoping for better Ferrari ‘hunting ground’ in Max Verstappen’s back yard

Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz had to settle for P3 at the Belgian Grand Prix, while Charles Leclerc came home in sixth.

Carlos Sainz rescued some dignity for Ferrari at the Belgian Grand Prix, but still finished the race well behind both Red Bull Racing drivers.

Due to Max Verstappen’s grid penalty, Sainz was gifted pole at Spa-Francorchamps.

The Spaniard made an excellent start to the race and quickly built a gap of just over a second to Sergio Pérez; however, this quickly disintegrated when Verstappen calved his way from P14 to the top three.

Ferrari attempted to undercut Verstappen which they did so successfully, but just two laps after Verstappen made his own stop he had caught and overtaken the Spanish driver.

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The reigning World Champion then cruised to victory, whilst Sainz dropped to third behind Pérez.

The Ferrari driver simply had no answer to Red Bull’s superiority, something Sainz believes is just a “one-off”.

“I don’t know how much per lap but it was a lot per lap,” he told Sky Sports of Ferrari’s deficit. “We will have to go back and analyse why.

“I think it’s a one-off. I think they just had a super-strong weekend. We had a bit of a weaker one on a track that probably didn’t suit us a lot.

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“So we need to analyse why and take some conclusions, but on our race, we did everything we could do today but we were just not fast enough.”

This weekend’s Dutch Grand Prix should suit both Ferrari and the Mercedes F1 Team better due to the circuit’s characteristics.

Zandvoort is a short, tight, and twisty circuit, very similar to the Hungaroring where Charles Leclerc lost the race lead after an unsurprising strategic error by the team.

Sainz is confident that Ferrari will be “back on form” at the next round, with Spa suiting Red Bull better than the Scuderia.

Ferrari had a similar pace to Mercedes during the race, where Sainz had to be wary of a late charge by George Russell for the final spot on the podium.

The British Grand Prix winner isn’t expecting to be in the same fight at Zandvoort, with his confidence being remarkably high.

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“Today it was Mercedes, but I think at Zandvoort we can be back on form and beat Red Bull again,” he added.

“I think we just had a bit of a difficult weekend and this track was perfectly suited to Red Bull, whereas Zandvoort is a better hunting ground for us and we should be stronger there.

“It doesn’t mean we should beat Red Bull or comfortably beat them, but get back in the fight? I am convinced we should.”