Scuderia Ferrari Spanish driver Carlos Sainz admitted that he physically paid the price in the last round of the 2022 Formula One season, the Miami Grand Prix for his retirements from the previous two events, which took place at the Alebrt Park circuit and the Imola circuit.
Carlos Sainz was hoping to be able to keep the two Red Bull cars behind, having started from second place at the Miami International Autodrome, with teammate Charles Leclerc taking pole, but the Spaniard was passed by Max Verstappen at the first corner and was not able to keep the pace set by the two title rivals. The Ferrari driver was running in third and in the final stages if the Miami Grand Prix had to defend against Sergio Perez, who was on fresh medium tyres.
While it appeared from the outside he may have struggled with the balance on the hard tyre, Carlos Sainz later confirmed that one of the key factors for him during the race in Florida was actually his physical condition, due to the fact that he basically did not race at all in Australia and Italy, which meant he was suffering from a lack of race fitness. In addition to this, the Spanish driver was involved in a hefty crash on Friday in the second practice session at the Miami International Autodrome.
In Melbourne, Carlos had a poor start and crashed out on the second lap while attempting to recover positions as fast as possible, while seven days later, at the Imola circuit, he had another DNF, this time through no fault of his own, as he was hit from behind by Daniel Ricciardo at the first corner and was stuck in the gravel.
These two incidents left Carlos Sainz short on mileage and meant he had not completed a full race distance since the second round of the 2022 Formula 1 season:
“There were no issues with the balance,” the Ferrari driver said when asked about his performance in the Miami Grand Prix – “The balance was actually obviously tricky because we couldn’t keep up with Max and the Red Bull. But, on my side, it was more me feeling not 100 percent basically towards the end of the medium stint. In the last five laps, I started to get a bit tired on the neck and I couldn’t push 100 percent coming from the crash of Friday. I will not use it as an excuse, but it was just also maybe lacking in the last two races to get the neck and the body used to these F1 cars. Obviously I have been a month without a full race distance and probably that, combined with the crash on Friday, just made me not be able to push 100 percent up until the safety car more or less.” – he added.
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Carlos Sainz explained that he could not give everything in the race, but at the same time he confirmed it was important for him to finally complete a race and make it back on the podium:
“It’s not so much a relief – but it’s needed,” he said. “I think I needed to complete a race distance, to get the body back to shape, and also get the feel for the car on used tyres, high fuel. I was still doing a couple of mistakes out there during the race, just because I was trying the car and trying myself out there. The important thing is that we got a full race in. At some stages of the race I was pretty quick and also the battles, and the feeling with the car in battle with Checo [Sergio Perez], you know what to do with the battery and with the tyres. I think it gave me a good understanding of what to do in the future.” – he concluded.