As Formula 1 nears the end of its 2022 season, drivers start to brief their whole year’s performances and, with this being Carlos Sainz’s second year at Ferrari, the Spaniard spoke in an exclusive interview with Spanish media Diario AS on how he feels by the end of a season where Ferrari will not have any championship on its hands, yet again, in spite of having its most competitive challenger in years.
“Overall, no. I can't be happy, it's been a season with too many ups and downs. There are things I am happy with, like the progress we’ve made.”
“To find me in a car that still doesn't come naturally to me, or not in the easiest way. I'm proud of that, but the season had a difficult start and although I then got into a rhythm and good results, every two or three races something has happened that hasn't allowed me to generate a good run.”
The 28-years-old was questioned on the team orders’ situations he’s had to face throughout the year in order to achieve what is best for the team in the long run, and Sainz Jr. didn’t show happy with the way the topic has been handled by the media and the team.
“I can understand that after the first few races, Charles was clearly a step ahead both in qualifying and race pace. But in the middle of the season I improved a lot. Yes, I started to be more in the fight and in a way it was a bit frustrating because when I got in the fight, it seemed that some people didn't want me there.”
“I was criticized for not being there, and when I started to be there, some people wondered what I was doing at the front, that I should let Charles win everything.”
“It was frustrating, especially from the press. They criticize me, but just when I was there, fighting, they don't want me at the front anymore.”
The Spaniard, currently sitting P5 on the driver’s championship standings, took the opportunity when asked about the strategy mistakes from the Scuderia’s side to defend the people on his garage, as he assures the mechanics “are the first ones who want the best possible result for the team.”
“It seems to me that there is a lot of criticism towards the mechanics when they are the first ones who want the best possible result for the team.” He said.
“Especially after Zandvoort, a lot of people still ask me how it was possible that a mechanic was not ready for the pit-stop, but that happens because he was not called in good time to be ready. A mechanic is always going to be there. The mistake at Zandvoort was not the mechanics, but the late call.”
Sainz Jr. concluded by explaining his particular predicaments when driving the F1-75, as he assured he had never had an adaptation problem while competing for other F1 teams during his career.
“Of course. It frustrates me because it's not a problem I had, I'm a driver who has always adapted very quickly to the cars I've raced in. I have always been very close to my teammates or ahead of them.” The driver told AS.com.
“The fact that the year I suffered the most was the year in which I had a competitive car, in those first races, you can imagine that it was very difficult to accept psychologically.”
“And I couldn't explain it.”
“If I've never had problems adapting and I've always been fast, why did it cost me when I just had a fast car that allowed me to fight for victories? It frustrated me a lot, I was worried, and I was working a lot on it. Even so, I didn't lose my head and I've been able to solve it."