Sainz Hints at Ferrari Closing Big Gap to McLaren: ‘Much Better Pace Than Ricciardo’

March 31, 2021 11:28 am

After what was a hurtful 2020 F1 season for Ferrari, 2021 witnessed a relatively better start for the Maranello-outfit, as both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz saw the checkered flag within the top 10, securing a handy 12 points for the team.

What’s more, the newly recruited Spaniard reckoned that the Ferrari is feeling much faster than his former team’s 2021 car, MCL35M.

Apparently, following a slow start to the race, Sainz was lapping much faster than Daniel Ricciardo during the latter part of the race, and almost stole P7 from the Australian.

What did Carlos Sainz say?

As reported by Motorsport, Sainz revealed that the massive pace difference between McLaren and Ferrari, which was evident throughout the 2020 season, is no longer persisting.

It is encouraging because last year I remember I passed Charles pretty easy. So I remember how big was the difference between the McLaren and the Ferrari,” he said.

Formula One F1 – Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain -Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr. during the press conference FIA/Handout via REUTERS

I was close to overtaking the McLaren at the end. And I had much better pace than Daniel towards the end of the race. We were catching by half a second per lap.”

To bring down the pace deficit, Ferrari had to design an entirely new power unit ahead of the 2021 season. And considering how the Ferrari-powered fared in Bahrain last weekend, it looks like the Reds have finally achieved their desired goal.

Positive signs at Ferrari: Sainz

Considering a rather successful weekend in Bahrain, Sainz sounded confident that Ferrari could soon return to the top step.

There’s positive signs, there’s encouragement, and there’s a big step compared to last year. Now it is a matter of fine-tuning the details. Keep working hard back in Maranello and keep improving,” he said.

At the moment, the chances of Ferrari securing a top three finish on the constructor’s table look quite bleak, as their biggest threat could be McLaren.

Formula One F1 – Pre-Season Testing – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr. in action during testing REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

But they aren’t the only threat, as AlphaTauri, too, showed an astonishing pace at the Sakhir circuit last weekend. The only good news for Ferrari is that apart from the two teams, the rest of the mid-field comprising Alpine and Aston Martin are looking a bit far-off.

So, amid the limited yet imminent threats, can Ferrari find their way back up in the top three this season? Only time will tell.

Rohit Kumar

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing. With his favorite track being Hockenheim and his favorite turn being Eau Rouge (Spa, Belgium), Rohit is a strong advocate for bringing back the pre-turbo-hybrid era V10 engines and their screams. Apart from being an author, Rohit is also a trained tennis player, having qualified for national tournaments. He has been a part of the Estilio Academy for over a decade.

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