Sainz: Quite clear that Ferrari 'got something really wrong'

Ferrari's Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc both saw their French Grand Prix undermined by massive front tyre degradation... The post Sainz: Quite clear that Ferrari 'got something really wrong' appeared first on F1i.com.

Sainz: Quite clear that Ferrari 'got something really wrong'

Ferrari's Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc both saw their French Grand Prix undermined by massive front tyre degradation issues.

Sainz launched his race from fifth on the grid, hoping to at least uphold his position at the top of the midfield. The Spaniard did just that until his switch to the hard compound tyre on lap 16.

Alas, undercut by several rivals and struggling with degradation, Sainz was pushed down the order, ultimately concluding his race out of the points in 11th position.

"It's quite clear, quite evident that today we must have got something really wrong to be so far off the pace," commented a disappointing Sainz after the race.

"It's a limitation that has appeared in some of the races where we really struggled with the front tyres with graining, with degradation, two times as much as our competitors.

"Cars that yesterday we were half a second quicker, like the McLarens, or three tenths quicker. I don't remember - today, towards the end of the race, they were two seconds faster per lap.

"So it's clear that we have a limitation with tyres, with the way we operate the tyres. It is something that we will need to analyse, something we need to try and get better through the season."

Sainz reckoned that no alternative strategy from his team could have mitigated his tyre issues.

"The problem is when you have so much degradation like we had today, you have no margin with strategy," he added.

"You have no margin with defending, it's not like we are the quickest on the straights either.

"But today we were really, really far off the pace. We simply degraded the tyres two times as much as the others.

"This is just something that we need to understand. Because I think at the moment, this one definitely caught us by surprise."

Leclerc's race panned out in a similar way to that of his teammate. The Monegasque held his P7 qualifying position during his first stint and managed to reclaim that spot after a switch to the hards, but performance fell off a cliff thereafter and left him a distant 16th and a lap down at the checkered flag.

"It's been one of the most difficult races of my time in Formula 1," Leclerc admitted.

"I've been just struggling massively. I think both of the cars were struggling massively.

"We had like five, six laps on the tyres where we were quite good, and we were competitive, and then even though we were trying to take care of the tyres, they were degrading so much.

"On my side, we tried a second stop towards the end. We knew that we will be out of points anyway, so we just went for another stop.

"But then obviously it was quite tricky, because we were with blue flags and things like that.

"It was just a very bad race for us. I’m struggling to find words and I’m struggling to find an explanation.

"We just really need to understand it and to work on that, because it’s a big weakness."

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Norris and Ricciardo enjoy 'overachieving' in France

McLaren drivers Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo were pleased to be able to shine in race trim on... The post Norris and Ricciardo enjoy 'overachieving' in France appeared first on F1i.com.

Norris and Ricciardo enjoy 'overachieving' in France

McLaren drivers Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo were pleased to be able to shine in race trim on Sunday at the French Grand Prix at Le Castellet.

Although both had made it into the final round of qualifying on Saturday to put themselves into the top ten on the grid, it had looked like they had slipped off the pace of their nearest rivals Ferrari this week.

But both men proved to be in fine form in the race and charged up the order, even though it had been a poor start for Norris.

“We overachieved today,” said Norris after the race. “I was not really expecting to be finishing fifth and sixth for the team - and for me fifth, especially as lap one was pretty bad for me, or the start really.

"I had a bad shift to second or third gear and I lost quite a few positions" he explained after dropping two places and falling behind Ricciardo on he first lap.

However a long 24-lap initial stint on the medium compound left him with fresher hard tyres for the latter half of the race, which gave him the chance to mount an overtaking campaign in the second half of the race.

"We just did a good job with the strategy," he said. "We looked after the tyres nicely and it worked out for us. I'm a bit surprised but I’m happy. We will take it. Good points for us, so a good weekend.

"A good result for us as a team. I think it’s been our best race together," he added. “I’m a bit surprised because I didn’t think we were really expecting this after yesterday.

“It was a fun race for me, all the overtaking and the strategy and trying to survive in the first with the tyres and things. It was tricky, but it paid off.”

Today's result means that McLaren are back in front of Ferrari in the constructors standings by 16 points after the Italian squad failed to finish in the top ten with either car.

“I’m not going to get too happy,” Norris said. “It’s going to be like this all year: This weekend has gone to us, but they’re fast and they’re tough to beat, so I’m sure they’ll be back next time.”

Norris himself remains in fourth place in the drivers championship, with Ricciardo gaining a place and moving up to ninth in his first season with the team.

“For us to be the best of the midfield today, when we started eighth and 10th and finished fifth and sixth, it's really the race we hoped for," he said.

"But I’m not sure we expected it like that," he admitted. "Especially seeing Ferrari out of the points. It was a big day for the team.

“It was a better weekend for me for sure, so I'm happy with that. The car was a bit of a handful in the race, but everyone else was struggling more and more so it was something that we could take advantage of.

"But it was fun! I had fun with some battles, and enjoyed it."

In contrast to Norris, Ricciardo gained from an early stop that allowed him to undercut Carlos Sainz and Pierre Gasly, which the Aussie told Sky Sports F1 had been "was a good call from the team".

Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) McLaren MCL35M makes a pit stop. 20.06.2021. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 7, French Grand Prix, Paul Ricard

"They called me pretty late and basically said, long story short, if Gasly pits stay out and if he doesn't, pit so basically do the opposite to him," he explained. "He stayed out so we went in and got a good undercut. Just a cool race."

Ricciardo added that everyone had been struggling with the conditions on Sunday but that "We suffered a little less so it was nice to see them suffer and sweat a little.

"It was a crazy, crazy situation. What is really encouraging after a race like this is that on Saturday we are not really there yet but this shows we shouldn't get discouraged.

"It still allows a lot of hope for a Sunday and days like today prove there are still some great opportunities."

"Typically, it is not always a track that allows us to fight that hard, so I was really pleasantly surprised that it was a good race all the way through the field.

"Definitely a productive weekend, and I enjoyed just being able to attack and use the brakes a little better and get back to some old skills."

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