Sainz Baku crash fear led to mental stress
By Ian Parkes
Wednesday 3rd May, 2023 - 10:03am
Carlos Sainz has revealed he was “on the limit of crashing” during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix which ultimately led to a degree of mental stress.
Sainz endured a tough weekend at the wheel of his SF-23 around the Baku Street Circuit as he was unable to get into a rhythm with the car.
It resulted in a number of minor incidents throughout practice and qualifying on Friday, culminating in him finishing fifth in both the sprint and main race.
The Spanish driver claimed after the sprint that his weekend had become one of “damage limitation” given how uncomfortable he felt in the car, which carried over into the grand prix.
Following the 51-lap main race on Sunday, the concerns of the previous two days reared their ugly head again.
“The first stint on the medium (tyre), I looked like I recovered a bit of pace,” assessed Sainz.
“But then as soon as I put on the hard, my struggles of the weekend appeared again and I just had to bring home a P5.
“I was very on the limit of crashing or feeling like I was losing the car, so a pretty long race and mentally stressful after the struggle of the weekend.
“But I brought home the P5. I’m sure we will find out why this happened and I’m sure in Miami we’ll be back.”
Sainz grateful for normal format in Miami
Given the packed programme of the new sprint format weekend, Sainz had no time to analyse why he was experiencing what he did with the car.
“We had to very quickly go into the next session, to fine-tune the car with the front wing and the switches to put it in a bit of a better place,” added Sainz.
“But we couldn’t dig deep into the data to see what could have happened. I’m sure, together with my engineers, we’ll find out and we’ll be back on form in Miami.
“It’s just obviously a shame to have such a frustrating long weekend in Baku.”
Despite the short turnaround, Sainz is grateful for the fact the Miami Grand Prix follows so swiftly this weekend, and more importantly, it returns to a normal format, with three practice sessions followed by qualifying and the race.
He said: “In a way I find it positive the next race is coming so quickly because I can put Baku behind me very quickly.
“On the other hand, obviously I probably will need a bit more time but we’ve turned it around in the past within three or four days, and I expect we will do the same before Miami.
“And I need a bit of a normal weekend to get back a feeling with the car.
“If the feeling is the same as Baku then I will have a few sessions to experiment with the set-up, but I don’t expect it to be the same after coming from a very strong weekend previously in Australia.”
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