"I am sure they did this with the best intentions" - Carlos Sainz defends Ferrari's pit-stop strategy after yet another game plan failure at 2022 F1 French GP

Carlos Sainz looks on from the drivers parade ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of France at Circuit Paul Ricard on July 24, 2022 in Le Castellet, France. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
Carlos Sainz looks on from the drivers parade ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of France at Circuit Paul Ricard on July 24, 2022 in Le Castellet, France. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Carlos Sainz defended Ferrari’s call to pit him for a tire change that cost him a potential podium in the 2022 French GP. The Spaniard trusted his team as it had more data on whether continuing on the same set of tires was a possibility.

Speaking to the on-site media after the French race, Sainz said:

“I am sure when they show me the numbers and data from the tyres, they strongly believe I would not have made it to the end. We have to trust the numbers because this is what we base our strategies on. I am sure they did this with the best intentions, when you are P3 in a podium position after starting last, the last thing you want to do was box, get out of the way and lose 32 seconds in the pit stop. Maybe that was why I was willing to take some more risk there.”

He continued:

“The team in the end played it safe with the tyres which I totally understand and we will have to analyse together.”

The Ferrari driver had surged from P20 on the grid to secure third place after a fierce battle with Sergio Perez. However, Ferrari decided to pit him after he had secured the podium-finishing spot. Adding a five-second time penalty to the pit stop, Carlos Sainz was only able to manage a fifth place despite showing tremendous pace throughout the race.

The Spaniard defended the team’s call and felt they had a better idea of the situation with his tires, where they were not confident of him finishing the race.

Explaining the moments before the pit-stop strategy call, the Ferrari driver said:

“I think they were convinced that was a good lap to stop even with the battle with Checo [Sergio Perez]. With the team, I think it is a typical discussion. You are on a two-stop but suddenly you realise are in P4 or P3, trying to make it to the end, the team ask you can you make it to the end and I am like 'let me think about it' because I needed to feel the tyre and see what could happen.”

Carlos Sainz admitted he was taking a risk fighting Sergio Perez in the French GP

The Spanish driver admitted he was taking a risk fighting Red Bull's Sergio Perez on old tires and it was inevitable there would be a loss of time in the pit stop. Carlos Sainz revealed that he followed the team as they had more data on the situation of his tires than he did.

Acknowledging the risks involved in fighting Perez on old tires, Carlos Sainz said:

“In the end, I was the one who told them I dont think it is possible but then I passed Checo and in clean air and P3 I say lets try. Finally I passed Checo, risking my life out there and at that point, I was like yeah lets try to finish in the podium because I knew the pit stop would cost me 32 seconds.”

He continued:

“In the end, they had more numbers than me so I followed the instruction of pitting and I am sure that we will analyse it together and they will explain to me why they took that decision and the team is in the best position to make the decision.”

Nevertheless, a key takeaway from Carlos Sainz’s performance at the 2022 French GP was his pace on old and new tires. He reduced the gap to 22 seconds in less than five laps during his final stint. A new engine and components fitted into his car reflected his pace in both qualifying and the race.

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Edited by Anmol Gandhi