While Carlos Sainz encourages Ferrari fans to dream, he claims Red Bull are up to half a second per lap faster in race trim at Monza.
Only the bravest of Ferrari fans would have gone into the Italian Grand Prix weekend expecting victory, considering Red Bull have claimed all 13 grand prix wins on offer so far in F1 2023, with Max Verstappen looking to set a new Formula 1 record of 10 wins in a row with Monza victory.
Sainz though gave Ferrari a major shot of hope by topping FP2, with Verstappen finishing the session P5 having not set a representative time on the soft tyre in his qualifying simulation.
Carlos Sainz details extent of Red Bull challenge
While Ferrari and Mercedes are the only teams to have denied Red Bull pole position during F1 2023, no one has yet found an answer for how to do that in race trim, and Sainz’s belief that Red Bull are three-tenths to half a second per lap faster in race trim at Monza does not bode well.
Asked if the Tifosi can dare to dream of a special Ferrari result at Monza, Sainz, as per the Formula 1 website, replied: “Yeah, dreaming is for free, no? This is one of my favourite sayings. Especially in tracks like this, I think we can all dream and it’s for free, no one can take it away from us.
“But being realistic, also looking at our race pace, that’s when we started seeing the true pace of the Red Bull, they were clearly again three-tenths, half a second ahead in race pace, and over 50 something laps that’s a lot of lap time.”
While Sainz was showing what the SF-23 can do at Monza on low fuel, team-mate Charles Leclerc revealed that from his side, high-fuel performance was a strength, with work still to do on the low fuel.
“I mean, really good on high fuel,” Leclerc reflected, having claimed P4 and P6 finishes on Friday. “On my side, I struggled quite a bit more on low fuel. I think we know what to do for tomorrow.
“I went in a bit of a different direction, so we need to reset a little bit for tomorrow and focus a bit more on the low-fuel runs, as we were struggling a bit with the balance of the car there.”
Sainz had the upper hand on his team-mate in both sessions, explaining that from the moment he hit the track the SF-23 was feeling in a good place.
As for why, that is what “puzzles” him.
“It can’t get much better than that,” he declared. “It was a smooth day, to be honest.
“It’s great to be back at a track like Monza and from the first lap of FP1 to feel the car normal again after such a difficult weekend at Zandvoort.
“As soon as we put the car on track here for some reason it just adapted a lot better and it was a lot easier to set up and drive it per corner. It doesn’t mean that we’re going to be P1 tomorrow and in the race, but at least the feeling is much better.
“We put the car on track, it’s the same car basically, but for some reason it just felt a lot better, which is what puzzles me more. But let’s see tomorrow, I think everyone’s going to lower fuel tomorrow, higher engine modes and it’s going to be a bit of a different picture.”
Ferrari know a strong result in front of the Tifosi could bring them back into the conversation for P2 in the Constructors’ Championship, the gap to Mercedes currently holding that position standing at 54 points.
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The article Carlos Sainz Red Bull reveal spells bad news for Tifosi hopes of Ferrari win appeared first on Planetf1.com.