Carlos Sainz opens up on Baku struggles after being dominated by Charles Leclerc

Carlos Sainz finished third at last season's Miami Grand Prix after starting from the front row.

Carlos Sainz is hopeful that Ferrari will take another step forward this weekend at the Miami Grand Prix, after the Italians enjoyed their best round of the season so far at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Azerbaijan was certainly a much better weekend for Ferrari, with Charles Leclerc having claimed the Maranello-based team’s first podium of 2023.

Sainz was only able to finish fifth in Baku and actually found the Baku City Circuit particularly challenging, whereas Leclerc thrived.

The Spaniard has been the stronger of the two Ferrari drivers this season but was unable to match Leclerc in Baku, with the 28-year-old hoping that a “normal” weekend in Miami will allow him to regain his “feeling with the car”.

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“In a way, I find it positive that the next race is coming quickly, because I can get this one behind me,” Sainz said after Sunday’s race.

“Now, on the other hand, obviously I probably would need a bit more time, but we’ve turned it around in the past within three or four days, and I expect that we will do the same before Miami.

“I think I need a bit of a normal weekend to get back a feeling with the car, and if [the feeling] is the same as here, I will have a few sessions to experiment with set-up.

“But I don’t expect it to be the same as my very strong weekend in Australia.”

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Whilst Ferrari ultimately had no answer to Red Bull when it came to race trim, the Italians were second in the pecking order.

Their straight-line speed did give them an edge over the impressive Aston Martin; however, Sainz is aware that the Italians must “keep making small steps in the right direction” if they want to challenge the Silverstone-based team for second in the Constructors’ Championship.

READ: 2023 Miami GP start time, schedule and race preview

“I think we still have a lot of work to do in the race when you see how much quicker we were compared to the Astons in qualifying, and the Aston being on the tail of Charles for all the race,” Sainz said.

“It just proves the car still has a fundamental weakness in race pace, so I expect us to keep making small steps in the right direction.

“At least in qualifying, we have unlocked a bit, but points are on Sunday and we will work hard on that.”