Carlos Sainz warns Ferrari of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell threat

Ferrari have six races remaining to defend second place from Mercedes.

With Red Bull having cleared off in the lead of the Constructors’ Championship, the Austrians now boast a 139-point lead over Ferrari with six races remaining.

Ferrari have been left with no choice but to defend second place from Mercedes rather than attack Red Bull for first, with the Scuderia currently sitting just 35 points ahead of the Silver Arrows.

The Italian side have by far a stronger car; however, due to their unreliability and poor decision making, they’ve allowed Mercedes to have a chance at snatching second.

The Silver Arrows have comfortably the third fastest car on the grid, but it’s nowhere near up to the level of Ferrari or Red Bull.

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Ferrari and Red Bull are actually on almost a par with one another, with the Scuderia having been their own worst enemy this season.

Ferrari have lost too many victories to count through engine failures and strategic blunders, which have impacted Charles Leclerc more often than Carlos Sainz.

Sainz remains confident that despite all the issues at Ferrari, they can still beat Mercedes “fair and square”.

“I think we know they’re going to be there pretty much in every Sunday, especially Sundays they seem to pick up a lot of pace compared to qualifying and they are always there,” said Sainz to reporters at Monza.

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“I’m always surprised how in qualifying they can be maybe one second off sometimes and suddenly come race day your engineer comes on the radio, and they tell you the lap times of Lewis and George and it’s like sometimes they are even quicker.

“We know they’re going to be there but I think we can still beat them fair and square.”

Whilst reliability problems can’t always be avoided, strategic errors can.

Red Bull have been the strategic masters for a number of years, and it’s certainly continued this year.

Ferrari have in recent years been the ones to be laughed at for comical strategies, with 2022 being no different.

The Italian’s would potentially still be in contention of claiming the championship had it not been for ruining their drivers’ races, something which happened to Sainz as recently as the Dutch Grand Prix.

At Zandvoort, Ferrari somehow forgot a wheel whilst Sainz was in the pits, something which cost the Spaniard an incredible amount of time.

Sainz thinks it’s unfair that his side are continually ridiculed for their strategic errors, with the Spanish driver believing that they should be praised as well for when they get it right.

“It’s very difficult to generalise about where we should have been more brave or more cautious,” the Spaniard added.

“I think you would need to pick one by one and analyse them independently. I’m pretty sure one by one, every result or every conclusion will be different. For me, it’s all about continuous improvement and continuously finding ways to make the right calls at the right time.

“And there have been a lot of times during the year where we’ve done the right calls and no one has come to us to say, ‘Oh, you did the right call’ or congratulate us for that.

“But on the other hand, when there’s been two or three – let’s say call them bad calls with hindsight – there’s been massive criticism about it.”

Sainz is currently fifth in the Drivers’ Championship, 32 points behind his team-mate in the standings.

The 28-year-old is coming towards the end of his second season at the Scuderia, with another two ahead of him having signed a contract extension towards the start of the season.

Sainz revealed that it’s a “bit tougher” driving for Ferrari than the likes of McLaren, with everything being “bigger”.

“I find it a bit tougher in Ferrari,” Sainz admitted.

“I feel like when I was in McLaren, or in Toro Rosso or in Renault.

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“When there was a big mistake on strategy no one would come and point it out and criticise you and put you down to earth like as much as they do in Ferrari.

“This is a fact that I think everyone can agree with. While in Ferrari, everything seems bigger. The victory is bigger; the mistake is bigger. And it’s just like that, no?

“It’s something I’m adapting myself to. And it’s something I need to learn how to react better in situations. We go back to a factory, and we try to improve it.”