Carlos Sainz Jr. had his chance to establish himself during the Canadian Grand Prix but mixed feelings came from the weekend. If the ending of the race saw him engage in a thrilling fight with Red Bull Max Verstappen, qualifying and the never really concretized attack against Verstappen left some doubts.
When it was confirmed the Monegasque would have started from the back of the gid, the focus was immediately on his teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. Then, the crash on the Saturday and reliability issues on Sunday took Perez out of the race leaving, even more, Sainz one-to-one with Verstappen.
On Saturday, the Spaniard qualified third behind Verstappen and Alonso. The debate here opens up quite easily. Surely, Verstappen is usually on another level in the rain and Canada was no exception. Moreover, we don’t know Sainz’s car set-up. Yet, the gap to Verstappen (+0.797) and the intromission of Alonso surely left a bitter taste.
On Sunday, the bad luck with the timing of the pit stop and the end of the virtual safety car could have overcomplicated a fairly simple race. Luckily, the safety car granted the last laps of adrenaline by closing the grid. Here the sentence is difficult. Sainz did what he had to by putting pressure on Verstappen. Doubtlessly, the Dutchman’s drive was worthy of a World Champion but Sainz’s mistakes left to wonder if more was reachable, especially considering the pace delta, the fresher tyres, and the DRS.
Good result, mixed feelings?
Substantially, while Sainz did a perfect job in doing everything he could, the comparison with Verstappen was simply unbearable. Even worse, it evidenced for many the void left at the front by Leclerc in qualifying and in the boldness of the duel with the Dutchman. Sainz, hence, risks seeing the internal hierarchies at Ferrari even more solidified. The lack of pole positions and victories then will surely bring in even more frustration.
Regardless, after a difficult period and the delusion of Baku, the podium of the Canadian Grand Prix can finally grant the Spaniard the reassurance he needed to continue pushing in the Championship. As said by Sainz himself in Ferrari’s post-race quotes, the demonstration of more confidence with the car is the main takeaway from the weekend:
“Even though I’m disappointed at not getting the win, there are many positives to take from Canada. We were the fastest on track today and I felt much better in the car, being able to push constantly throughout the race. Now we need to build momentum and carry this feeling onto the next race.”
To Silverstone then the job to test Sainz again but this time with all the protagonists of the season involved. Verstappen seeking redemption after the 2021 crash, Leclerc hungry for victories that seem to be slipping out of his control lately, and Perez anxious to keep his shot for the Championship open. Game on for Carlos to prove once again his worth.
Headline Image: Ferrari Press Office
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