Carlos Sainz says he was “puzzled” by Ferrari’s apparent lack of pace in Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix, which saw him and teammate Charles Leclerc finish only fourth and sixth respectively.
After Leclerc and Sainz had qualified second and third on the grid respectively, and each topped one of Friday’s two dry practice sessions, expectations were high that the Scuderia would have a good chance of victory on Sunday.
However, a combination of two slow pit-stops for Sainz, a questionable tyre strategy call for Leclerc, and some formidable pace from Red Bull and Mercedes saw the two Ferraris fall to fourth and sixth by the flag.
After the race, Sainz was at a loss to explain Ferrari’s poor pace on Sunday.
“We clearly struggled as a team today,” Sainz told Sky Sports F1.
“[I’m] a bit puzzled, because we expected to have very good race pace coming from Friday, but it’s clear that with these lower temperatures and track condition changes that we had today there was something going on with the car and the tyres that we just were not fast.
“Something to analyse – a day to probably look back, regroup, see what we did wrong for these kinds of conditions, and come back after the summer break with a better package.”
Sainz rues slow pit-stops
Neither of Sainz’s two pit-stops were especially slick, and the Spaniard reckoned his race would have been very different had he managed to emerge ahead of early leader George Russell following his first trip to the pit lane.
“The first [slow pit-stop] I think cost me the overcut on George, which obviously would have simplified the race from there onwards, because then you don’t have dirty air [following a car ahead],” he explained.
“I could have, I think, done an overcut with a fast pit-stop, but it is what it is.
“We’ve been decent on pit-stops all year, but now and then a couple of pit-stops are failing us, and we need to analyse what we can do better.
“We want to be stronger in the second half [of 2022].”
Sainz unsure on strategy improvement
Despite Ferrari failing to convert their promising qualifying positions into a strong race result, Sainz said he had no suggestions as to how the Scuderia might have better managed the afternoon.
“I don’t know what we would have done better on strategy, but I can tell you that when the pace is bad like it was today, strategy is always difficult, because you don’t have pace with any compound,” Sainz continued.
“I guess the pit-stop cost me today twice, because from probably leading the race, I went to P3 and having to manage the tyres a lot, which was a shame, but do you include that as a strategy? I don’t know.
“I think today we were just slow, and if you compare our pace against Red Bull on Friday, to our pace against Red Bull today, there was clearly something in the car and in the tyres that we were just not doing right.”