‘I’ve gotten to a good level with this car,’ Carlos Sainz on how Charles Leclerc showed him his ‘limits’ in 2022 and his hopes for next season


‘I’ve gotten to a good level with this car,’ Carlos Sainz on how Charles Leclerc showed him his ‘limits’ in 2022 and his hopes for next season

Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc

Carlos Sainz certainly ticked off a few boxes in 2022: He got his first pole position and win at the British Grand Prix this year, and then took pole position ahead of his teammate and Max Verstappen in Austin before he was unfortunately taken out on the first corner by George Russell. But his season was certainly not as good as it could have been.

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Part of that blame goes to outside factors: The Spaniard got anti-stall on the start in Australia, leading him to push harder, eventually making a mistake and beaching his car. In Imola and Austin, he was taken out of the race at the first corner. Twice, he suffered a mechanical retirement, in Baku and Spielberg. He aquaplaned during the Japanese Grand Prix, which ended his race. How much of the blame for that particular incident goes to him is up for debate.

This is why, despite some achievements, Sainz isn’t satisfied with his 2022 season. At the beginning of the year, he had some difficulty adapting to the car, and his gap in pace to Charles Leclerc was quite large in the first half of the season, which was when Ferrari had their best performances. In 2023, he hopes to start the year off much better.

As per Motorsport-Total.com, the Spaniard said (transl. from German): “I want to start this season a lot stronger, a little bit more the way I ended this one. As a better driver with more knowledge and with a lot more knowledge of this generation of cars, that should see me next year make it stronger.”

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Also Read: “Felicidades!”: Spanish racer Carlos Sainz let’s go of sentiments for his own country to congratulate Argentina for their World Cup win

Carlos Sainz ‘not entirely satisfied’ with his season

Carlos Sainz
Carlos Sainz

For a good part of 2022, Charles Leclerc seemed to have the measure of Carlos Sainz. While the gap came down after a poor start to the season for Sainz (on pace, anyways), the damage had been done. After Imola, Ferrari were never the same again. The difficult start to the season still claws at the Spaniard, even if part of that blame goes to the fact that the car didn’t suit him.

He said: “I’m not entirely satisfied with my season. I won’t lie, the first half was too hard for me too compared to what I expected. Every car I’ve driven I’ve always been up to speed straight away. This was the first time in my career that I was two or three-tenths off pace and I really had to duck my head and try find out where those two or three-tenths were.”

His teammate Leclerc showed Sainz ‘the limits’ in 2022, and now the Spaniard feels he is at a fairly good level with the car: “Charles [Leclerc] drove extremely well in the first half of the season which showed me my limits a bit more and in the end I found them. I’ve gotten to a good level with this car and that’s the base and the pace now that I can drive from the start next year.” 

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For 2023, Ferrari must sort out their reliability issues as well as the tyre degradation problem for them to stand a chance. Moreover, they will have to improve their race execution – which often proved to be their Achilles’ heel in 2022. They must provide a good platform for Sainz and Leclerc to build on, and then it will get interesting as to who will come out on top – and if either can topple Max Verstappen.

Also Read: ‘Binotto was more of a fan of Carlos Sainz,’ Ralf Schumacher feels that the arrival of Frederic Vasseur spells good things for Charles Leclerc at Ferrari

Also Read: “I trust him,” Carlos Sainz shows “utmost faith” in Frederic Vasseur to lead Ferrari as their Team Principal in 2023