They all look at the Ferrari 55. Carlos Sainz arrives with victory options at any circuit on the calendar this yearalthough the paths of Verstappen and Leclerc seem inscrutable; and the Spanish GP is the perfect setting to change the trend of the championship. That idea does not come from the press or from the ‘paddock’, rather it emanates from the 110,000 fans who will pack Montmeló every day this weekend and who want to witness a big door on Sunday, with the Madrid player as the protagonist, breaking a drought that it extends from Barcelona 2013.
Sainz picks up the glove, admits to AS: “Perfect, I’m delighted, let it happen. You can imagine how much I want it to be a good weekend, to give the fans a good time. That’s what I prepare for and that’s what I’m going to try. But if not here, I’ll try Monaco, and if not Canada. That’s how sport works”. The pressure from the stands is not a burden, rather the opposite: “It motivates, above all it motivates, and it presses but in a positive way, it’s a good pressure that has worked very well for me in the past. In Barcelona I have always gone fast and I have achieved my best results”.
A win sounds all too good, but the podium is a real goal and being ahead of World Cup leader Leclerc must stop looking impossible. “There are things in my driving style that do not work with this car, automatisms that I am trying to cancel from the ‘software’, from the brain. It is not an easy process but it can be a good circuit to test it, because I know it very well”, he confesses Charles, not he has scored as many points (40, in seven visits) at no other track in the World Championship.
Evolutions and priorities
Improvements arrive at Barcelona, the first package of the year since Maranello, but the basic lines of the F1-75 do not change. It would be important to alleviate the ‘porpoising’, because “you don’t see the braking line”, beyond the physical punishment, and direct the Ferrari’s behavior towards Carlos’ taste. “There are cars in which you, by instinct, go perfectly; and other cars that do not like your automatisms. This one is more difficult than expected, I already felt it in the Barcelona tests. But this happens in the race of a pilot”.
It is vindicated, because the discontent is lodged in two tenths per lap. “Even so I have been fighting for pole positions, I was on point in Miami, Jeddah or Bahrain, and I was fast in Imola and Australia. It is not much, it is quite little, but that little hurts because it is what does not allow you to be in the fight for victory or get the first pole”. Meanwhile, Leclerc escapes with 104 points (Sainz has 53) followed by Verstappen (84) and Pérez (66). Carlos is not afraid that Ferrari’s priorities will send him to the background: “I know what the rules are and when, potentially, there can be favoritism and team orders. In the sixth race, with 17 to go, we remain even and we are in a position where anything can still happen. I know what my options are and where the team relationship between Charles (Leclerc), Mattia (Binotto) and I goes, and I’m calm”. Perhaps the 100,000 fans will solve “the automatisms” at once. If F1 are states of Courage, the great prize of the Spanish fury arrives.