Sainz says Hamilton, Norris, Verstappen and Leclerc ‘have no weak sides’

Carlos Sainz ended 2021 fifth in the Drivers' Championship in an impressive debut year with Ferrari.

Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz has said that the new cars introduced in 2022 will be vastly distinct from anything we have seen in recent seasons in Formula 1, and believes that the Scuderia’s new challenger will be easier to drive.

Amid vast changes to the technical regulations, wholesale alterations are being made to the cars’ aerodynamics and tyres.

Reports have suggested that the Scuderia have overcome the 20-horsepower deficit that is expected to come in 2022, having developed a 90 percent fossil fuels and 10 percent ethanol together with their partners Shell.

Sainz was asked on his thoughts on the 2022 car compared to what he has raced with previously since his arrival into Formula 1 with Toro Rosso in 2015.

“[They are] different from the cars we have seen in recent years. Innovative to the maximum!” he told Corriere della Sera.

Due to the different nature of the handling ahead of the upcoming season, the 27-year-old is confident that the new car will prove more comfortable to control.

“Until last year we drove the best cars in the history of F1, if you lost control for a moment, you would crash,” he explained.

“This Ferrari seems even more responsive to me, the suspension is stiffer, we’ll have to get used to handling it. If the new car is easy to drive, everything comes out faster, the lap times almost come by themselves.

“Then you have to compare the data with others. I don’t think the first test in Barcelona will be enough, but in Bahrain we’ll have some reliable data.”

Article continues below

He then described the current mood at the team, revealing that everyone is upbeat and looking forward to the new season.

“[They team is] full of energy and positivity,” he declared.

“The experience of last year has done us all good. In the corridors in Maranello, I see people smiling, toned up, confident. I don’t see stress, I see a desire to do well.”

The Spaniard told team-mate Charlec Leclerc that he believed he could beat him last year and, despite losing the qualifying and race battles 13-9 and 14-8 respectively, he outscored the Monegasque en route to an impressive third-placed Drivers’ Championship finish.

Sainz recognises the prowess of Leclerc and was eager to learn from him, but he must always maintain self-belief.

“It was a logical answer. Just arrived, a lot to learn, a very strong team-mate. However, even then I believed in it, trust is never lacking, but I have to be realistic,” he explained.

“Drivers like Charles Leclerc, Lando Norris, Max Verstappen or Lewis Hamilton have no weak sides. The comparison takes place by improving every detail and it is fun to have a partner like this: you learn by observing.”

He then went into a little more detail about what he and his 24-year-old team-mate get up to away from the racetrack.

“In chess, the battle is tight, even though Charles says he’s stronger than me. In golf, I have the advantage because I play more than him. He prefers padel or football, I don’t know why,” he added.

Ferrari ended the 2021 Constructors’ Championship third, beating McLaren in the final round of the season in Abu Dhabi.

They have retained their driver line-up for the 2022 season, which gets underway on 20 March in Bahrain.