Carlos Sainz reveals he had a ‘couple of scares’ with Lance Stroll

Carlos Sainz currently sits joint-fourth in the drivers' championship, after finishing fourth in Bahrain and sixth in Saudi Arabia.

After finishing in a disappointing sixth at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Carlos Sainz has revealed that Ferrari “know exactly” what is wrong with the SF-23, with the Italians currently possessing “the fourth fastest car”.

The 2023 F1 season certainly hasn’t started how Ferrari would’ve been hoping, with the Italians having slumped to fourth in the constructors’ championship after the opening two rounds.

Race pace has been a massive problem for the Italians, with qualifying having been less of an issue so far this year.

When it comes to Saturday, Ferrari have so far had the second strongest car; however, race day has been a different story.

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Ferrari were narrowly the third fastest team in Bahrain, whilst last weekend at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit they were comfortably fourth.

Mercedes were much stronger in Saudi Arabia than expected, with the Silver Arrows having shown similar race pace to Aston Martin.

Team principal Toto Wolff admitted that since Bahrain, the Germans have understood “where we are lacking”, with a concept change set to be introduced in a few races time.

“I think we are on an equal footing with Ferrari and Aston Martin when it comes to the long run pace,” Wolff said.

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“So that’s ok. And we now understand much better where we are lacking. What we have already found in the tunnel will probably already make us a few tenths faster.”

Mercedes’ pace as well as Ferrari’s lack of pace was a “surprise” to Sainz in Jeddah, with the Spaniard having revealed that the Maranello-based team “expected” to be the second fastest team.

“It came as a bit of a surprise,” Sainz told Diario AS newspaper.

“Because of the type of track Jeddah is, we expected to be faster than Mercedes and Aston Martin. But now we have two different types of asphalts, two different circuits and the race pace is not very good.”

Upgrades seemingly can’t come soon enough for Ferrari who have got a “plan” in place to improve the SF-23, with Sainz being confident that things will improve at Maranello over time.

“I had a couple of scares following (Lance) Stroll,” Sainz revealed.

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“We know what the car’s weakness is – we overheat the tyres. But we do that on our own so you can imagine that when we are behind another car it’s even worse.

“We have to bring development now but we already know the plan that we have and where we have to improve it. But it’s impossible to create pieces from one day to the next.

“But I trust Ferrari, I trust that we are going to improve the car and we have the ability to do it. We know exactly what problem the car has.”