Carlos Sainz believes Red Bull are still the favorites for the 2022 F1 United States GP, despite claiming pole position for Ferrari at the Circuit of the Americas.
The 28-year-old took his third pole of the season in Austin. He also became the first Spaniard to take pole in the US for Ferrari after stitching together a lap to beat teammate Charles Leclerc and Red Bull's Max Verstappen.
Carlos Sainz, however, will not have Leclerc next to him come race day as the Monegasque has picked up a 10-place grid penalty after taking on new Power Unit (PU) components.
When asked to share his thoughts on the lap that secured pole position for him in his post-session interview with Danica Patrick, Sainz said:
“It was fun. A lot of fun. Very tricky out there with these winds that we have today. So gusty that every corner is a bit of an adventure with these cars. You don’t know how much grip you are going to get or how much grip to expect, but I managed to put together a good lap with mistakes and yeah, a pole position that was a long time coming after a few qualis in the dry getting close to it but not quite getting there.”
The Spaniard was then asked to share his expectations for the race and he did not mince his words. Sainz added:
“I’m not going to lie. I think for tomorrow, Red Bull are still the favourites. I think they normally have the better race pace. They normally get us in the race because Max [Verstappen] does a great job and Red Bull has a very good car in race trim. But we’re going to do everything we can to try and stay ahead tomorrow and win the race, which would be an amazing way to start these last four races.”
Carlos Sainz helped secure a 100% pole record for Ferrari in the US this season, adding to Leclerc's pole from the inaugural Miami GP. Unfortunately, Max Verstappen did not find it too hard to overtake the F1-75 from P2 on that occasion.
Given the high amount of tire degradation that is usually seen at COTA, it will come as no surprise if we see something similar happen on Sunday in Austin as well.
Carlos Sainz had to completely change his driving style after joining Ferrari
Carlos Sainz has admitted that he had to completely overhaul his driving style to fit in after signing with Ferrari.
The Spaniard came into F1 through the fabled Red Bull academy before moving to Renault and then McLaren and finally taking the step to become Charles Leclerc's teammate at the Scuderia.
It has not been an easy career move for him, however, as Carlos Sainz admitted in a conversation with Motorsport in the lead-up to the 2022 F1 US GP. The 28-year-old said:
“I kept it quite secret where my struggles came from. I think people who understand the sport, and people who do in-depth analysis, more or less know me by now, and know where the issues came from. But just to make it short: I had to change completely my driving style. I had to change completely the way I was driving, in a very unnatural way. I had to change to an unnatural way and make it natural, which takes a long time.”
Carlos Sainz was the top Ferrari driver in 2021 but has not been at the same level as Leclerc this season. Heading into the race in Austin, he is in P5 in the World Drivers' Championship standings with 202 points to his name.