Carlos Sainz plans to increasingly use his Friday running to experiment with the Ferrari F1-75 in search of a pace boost.
There was very little to choose between Sainz and his Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc in 2021, the pair separated by only 5.5 points in the Spaniard’s favour as Ferrari secured P3 in the Constructors’ Championship.
Ferrari have started 2022 very much as a front-runner, where it has been Leclerc delivering the stellar performances.
The Monegasque driver claimed victory at the season-opener in Bahrain before being narrowly beaten to the line by Max Verstappen at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix after another thrilling scrap between the pair.
Sainz has also had strong results, a P2 in Bahrain and P3 in Saudi Arabia, but already he appears very much at risk of becoming considered the number two driver at Ferrari.
Admittedly not yet feeling fully comfortable with the F1-75, Sainz wants to make gains over one lap and find the couple of tenths he generally has been lacking to his team-mate.
With Sainz explaining his engineers had some “interesting theories” for progress which have not yet delivered, he feels it is time to do his own experimenting on a Friday before qualifying.
“I tried a lot of different things, especially on Friday,” said Sainz following the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, quoted by Motorsport.com.
“I did a lot more on the set-up than on a normal Friday, everything to discover the car a bit. That’s something I want to do more often on Fridays – experiment to understand the car better and see how I can get it a bit more to my liking. For qualifying, I can tie everything together to be fast.”
Sainz finished the Saudi Arabian GP eight seconds behind race winner Verstappen, who had beaten Leclerc to the line by just 0.549s.
It was clear Sainz still has some race pace to find also, with the Spaniard highlighting his performance in the corners had been a strength in Jeddah in 2021 yet became a weakness for the second staging of the race.
Nonetheless, despite still not finding the F1-75 to be a perfect match for his driving style, Sainz definitely felt he had made a breakthrough in race performance at the Saudi Arabian GP.
“Last year I was very fast in the corners, where now I was struggling,” explained Sainz.
“It was important to find the middle ground and move forward. The car doesn’t really give me the feeling I need to make the most of my style yet. Those are two things I have been working on and I think we definitely made a step forward for the race.
“The confidence of last year isn’t there yet, but I’ve seen some good points in terms of data and we can definitely move forward with that.”
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