Carlos Sainz readily admits: he does not yet know how to fully anticipate the behavior of SF21. Not that the last Ferrari is ” inconduisible ”, As Valtteri Bottas was able to qualify his Mercedes W12 in free practice Friday in Bahrain. The Spaniard, who arrived from McLaren this winter, just needs a little time to decipher the DNA of Maranello’s cars.
For his first runs on a Grand Prix weekend in red, Sainz does not have to be ashamed of his performance. 8th in FP1, the Madrilenian progressed to 4th place in the evening, less than 3 / 10th of the benchmark established by Max Verstappen (Red Bull).
« The conditions were very different, commented the Iberian Friday night. In FP1, everything was normal and then the wind suddenly changed and the runway conditions changed. We found ourselves on a razor’s edge when it came to car balance, which brought all the cars together in the standings.
The long runs confirmed that the Red Bulls and the Mercedes had the advantage but I’m surprised to see the gaps so tight on one lap. ».
Raised to find out what he needed to be completely comfortable in his new work environment, Sainz replied that he tended to maintain a margin of safety.
« I’m still trying to find out how the car will react to different conditions, he clarified. If I compare to the McLaren, I knew exactly how the car was going to behave when the wind changed. As a result, I could anticipate and extract between 95 and 100% of the car, whatever the conditions.
When you join a new team, you don’t know how your new car will react under these circumstances. So you tend to under-drive because you don’t want to make silly mistakes. You stay a little below the limits of the car. This is why I think it will take me several races to be comfortable ».
Sainz confesses that it is not easy not to be able to attack as much as he wants.
« It takes a certain mental discipline because you cannot make a real technical return when you know not to evolve to the limit., concluded the recruit of the Prancing Horse. I managed to adjust between sessions and felt relatively at home in the end but the weather should change for the rest of the weekend so I might have to start from 0. The trick consists of letting the sessions flow, accumulating experience, and being patient ».
Author of the 5th and 12th fastest time on Friday, his teammate Charles Leclerc confided that he did not expect to see Ferrari ” also competitive »At the start of the season, even if the Monegasque had a little more complicated FP2.
If the two Scuderia men manage to put all the ingredients together this Saturday in qualifying, there is a good chance of seeing them invite themselves in Q3 in a midfield that has never been so provided and undecided. .