Monday, May 27, 2024

Tyre Management and Degradation ‘dictated’ Spanish Grand Prix Pace – Sainz

Having started on the front row of the grid, Carlos Sainz Jr. went into the Spanish Grand Prix hoping to fight at the front of the field, but Scuderia Ferrari’s race was hindered by tyre management and degradation that left him only fifth at the chequered flag.

Sainz had been one of the stars during Qualifying on Saturday afternoon and was Max Verstappen’s closest challenger for pole position, but once he fell in behind the Oracle Red Bull Racing driver at turn one on lap one, he was always then on the back foot as he struggled with his tyres.

The Spaniard, who was cheered on by his home fans at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, felt he gave it his all throughout Sunday’s race, but he was overhauled by both of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team drivers and Red Bull’s Sergio Pérez.

“It was a tough race,” admitted Sainz.  “Unfortunately, we couldn’t fight at the front as our pace is pretty much dictated by tyre management and degradation.

“I know Sundays have been frustrating so far this season, but we gave it our all on track this weekend and we will keep working on this new package and on developing our car.

“Thank you to everyone out there in the grandstands cheering for us every day! It’s always a pleasure to race at home.”

“There’s a lot of work to do” – Charles Leclerc

Team-mate Charles Leclerc was unable to break into the points on Sunday, with the Monegasque drivers struggles that saw him eliminated in Q1 on Saturday continuing into race.

Leclerc started from the pit lane after Ferrari opted to replace a lot of his components in a bid to improve the feeling of his SF-23, and although the balance was improved, he continued to lose performance due to inconsistencies with the car.

Leaving Spain, Leclerc says Ferrari will need to go through what happened throughout the weekend to understand why the pace fell away so dramatically in Qualifying, and what they could have done differently on race day to climb higher than the eleventh place he ultimately finished in.

“Today in terms of balance the car was alright, but the performance was not at all consistent,” said Leclerc.  “We ran the Hards twice, but with the first set I struggled a lot, while with the second one it was reasonably good and I was catching Pierre (Gasly) towards the end.

“We really must analyse all the data, because while the upgrades seem to work as expected, we are always slightly caught out by what is happening with the tyres and we struggle to get them in the right window which is a big problem.

“We ran the same tyre twice in the same race and we went from having a very bad car to quite a good one towards the end of the race. Now we will go back to the factory and find out what went wrong yesterday in qualifying because that’s what put us in a tricky situation today.

“There’s a lot of work to do.”

Charles Leclerc could only finish eleventh on Sunday – Credit: Scuderia Ferrari Press Office