Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz is adamant that the Scuderia are focused on winning races between now and the end of the season, rather than fending off Mercedes.
Sainz followed home team-mate, Charles Leclerc, in the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix to complete a one-two for Ferrari, and he has since scored six more podium finishes.
One of those was a victory at the British Grand Prix, but Ferrari have lost too many points to the Red Bull pair of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez.
The reigning champion has won 11 races in 2022, so he looks set to seal his second world title, and Perez has helped the Austrian side to a 139-point lead over Ferrari in the teams’ battle.
A series of unfortunate incidents, some in and some out of Ferrari’s control, look set to cost them the title this year, but they have something else to worry about.
Mercedes’ Sir Lewis Hamilton and George Russell have taken their tally of rostrum appearances up to 13 for the campaign, and the Silver Arrows are now just 35 points behind the Italian team in the battle for second in the championship.
That could be a cause for concern at Maranello, but the best way to seal off second place is to get back to winning races.
“We are concerned about getting back to winning, more than Mercedes,” said Sainz.
“Honestly, if we know we get back to winning before the end of the season, then the battle with Mercedes should be sorted.
“I think we have both cars always qualifying in the top three, top four. So yeah, we need to get that race pace back, like we did in Monza: we had a much better race pace and like this we don’t get out-raced on Sunday from the Merc.
“I think we just need to get focusing on trying to beat Red Bull whenever we can, and that should sort out the Championship battle.”
Sainz would like himself and Leclerc to find some more consistency in the final six rounds of the year.
“Personally, I would like six consistent races, a bit of gathering momentum before next year,” he added.
“Because this year, for me, has been characterised by never getting more than two or three consecutive good races, always have a reliability issue, bad pit stop, a strategy issue that comes into play.
“When you’re about to get in a good run of races, you know, that is so important in Formula 1 to gather a bit of momentum and get the confidence for the team and for myself building.
“So, we come from Monza, which was a pretty strong race for me and a good comeback. Also, fighting for pole position, even with a penalty.
“Hopefully from now on a bit more of that and just more podium finishes, and, more importantly, a win.
“That I think would be ideal to break the Red Bull record and try to keep ourselves winning and keeping having that good momentum into next year.”
Leclerc’s three wins have Ferrari on four for the season, in what has been a massive improvement on their form of the last two years.