Have Ferrari narrowed the hole to midfield leaders McLaren? Who higher to ask than Carlos Sainz, who swapped the British group for the Scuderia over the winter, and scored factors on his Ferrari debut within the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.
Final season Ferrari fell down the order to sixth in the standings because of low power and a high drag car holding them again, however this 12 months they appeared to have clawed again a few of that deficit. New recruit Sainz defined how the distinction between Ferrari and his ex-employers McLaren – who completed third within the constructors’ championship final season – has shrunk.
He mentioned: “It’s encouraging, as a result of final 12 months I do not forget that with that automobile [the McLaren] I handed Charles [Leclerc] pretty straightforward, so I bear in mind how massive the distinction between the McLaren and Ferrari was and the way shut I used to be to overtaking [Daniel] Ricciardo on the finish.
“I believe I had significantly better tempo than Daniel there in the direction of the top of the race; we have been catching at greater than half a second per lap, and there’s constructive indicators,” he added.
On the chequered flag, Sainz completed simply 0.096s off McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo (P7) – although the Australian was left struggling after floor damage picked up in a Lap 4 collision with Pierre Gasly – and the Spaniard mentioned he’s “comfortable” with the efficiency of his SF21.
“There’s encouragement, there’s an enormous step in comparison with final 12 months and now it’s a matter of maintain refining the main points, maintain working onerous again in Maranello and maintain enhancing,” he defined.
“We’ve achieved definitely an excellent step and now we need to take the subsequent steps however as Mattia [Binotto, Team Principal] mentioned, this 12 months goes to be extra centered on subsequent 12 months. However I’m inspired. Actually, I’m proud of what I’ve seen at present, I’m proud of my feeling with the automobile to be a primary race and I can see a constructive begin.”
Workforce mate Leclerc, who completed forward of Ricciardo in P6, additionally in contrast this 12 months’s efficiency to that of final 12 months and added that the group have achieved a “nice job” as he seems to be ahead to the group’s dwelling race at Imola in April.
“Yeah, if I take a look at the place we have been final 12 months at precisely the identical place there was a very good progress,” mentioned Leclerc.
“So absolutely we need to be combating for the win very, very quickly however realistically and truthfully we’ve achieved an ideal job to catch that and now be nearer to McLaren a minimum of and combating with them within the race, so let’s see in Imola,” he concluded.