Sainz issues apology after Monaco ‘miscalculation’
By Ian Parkes
Saturday 27th May, 2023 - 11:03am
Carlos Sainz has apologised to Ferrari after hitting a wall late in practice that undermined an eye-catching performance ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix.
Runner-up in the last two races around the Principality, Sainz made a respectable start in FP1 by topping the session by 0.338s ahead of fellow Spanish driver Fernando Alonso in his Aston Martin.
The second hour-long run, in which soft tyres were finally used for the first time, emerged as a three-way battle between Sainz, team-mate Charles Leclerc and reigning F1 champion Max Verstappen in his Red Bull.
It was a scrap at the end of which Sainz found himself 0.107s behind Verstappen, with Leclerc sandwiched between them.
With 15 minutes remaining in the session, however, Sainz blotted his copybook when clipping the barrier with his right-front wheel as he exited the Swimming Pool complex, breaking the suspension and sending him into a wall.
The incident was remarkably reminiscent of Leclerc’s accident in qualifying ahead of the race in 2021, although the impact was not as severe.
It was the second time Sainz had come into contact with that particular barrier, although in FP1 he managed to get away with brushing its apex.
Reflecting on his day, Sainz said: “It was a very small crash. I just clipped the wall on the inside of (Turn) 16 – a typical Monaco miscalculation. Sorry to the team and the mechanics for the extra work.
“Obviously, it was not ideal to finish the session in that way after a small miscalculation trying to find the limit.”
Sainz senses pole as Leclerc questions set-up
Sainz, however, feels he is in the mix for what is undoubtedly a crucial pole position.
“In terms of confidence, in terms of lap time, I’ve been on it all day, and just a small miscalculation in one corner is not going to affect it,” insisted Sainz.
“We’re on the right track to at least challenge for it (pole position). The Red Bull is still quick, they are still leading.
“But we’re closer than any other weekend, and we’re hoping we can at least give them a run for their money.
“I think it’s still going to be tricky. There are still a couple of things I want to try on the set-up to try and improve, but overall we are quite competitive.”
Home hero Leclerc is also in the hunt as he only finished 0.065s behind Verstappen, and clearly feels there is more to come from his SF-23.
The Monégasque described his day as “difficult” due to a car that “is not doing exactly what it is supposed to do”.
He added: “We need to take a good look at the set-up on my car and then work on it to ensure I have the right feeling with it (for qualifying).
“Here it’s all about qualifying. We didn’t do any race runs, just focusing on preparing for qualifying in the best way possible.”Sign up here to receive our daily newsletters and breaking news alerts, sent straight to your inbox.
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