Sainz 'cannot push at the moment', constrained by tyre wear


Carlos Sainz says his Ferrari's excessive tyre degradation is giving him "zero flexibility" with how he can push and manage his pace during a race.

Sainz lined up third on Sunday's Miami Grand Prix grid behind Re Bull poleman Sergio Perez and Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso after a productive qualifying session on Saturday.

However, contrary to Alonso, the Spaniard was unable to hold his own at the front of the field in the race, ceding a positing to future race winner Max Verstappen as he stormed through the pack and then another to Mercedes' George Russell.

Sainz reckoned that he had produced a good first stint on the medium compound tyre, but his switch to the hards was not as successful and he was forced to rein in his pace to preserve his rubber.


"I was a bit surprised with how much we struggled on the hard tyres after our very strong stint on the medium," he commented.

"We tried the undercut on Fernando, obviously it worked but it meant pushing the tyres for three or four laps to get the undercut.

"For some reason with our car right now we have zero flexibility with how much we can push. I had to stay under the limit for the rest of the race if I wanted to make it to the end."

Amid Sunday's windy conditions, Sainz said the duration of his stint on the hards was too muc and required some cautious management.

"With the wind conditions, how tough we are on tyres, that hard stint just became too long for us," he said.

"At the moment I cannot push, especially in the race. As soon as you push one lap, you do a good first lap, the next lap you are three-tenths slower."


Sainz noted that Ferrari had relied on the right strategy in Miami, but the SF-23's current limitations are a mitigating factor.

"We went for the undercut and it worked," he said. "It’s just that with hindsight, the car that we have right now, we have very little flexibility to try undercuts or overcuts.

"So it’s just more how limited we are. But in terms of strategy it was the right call at the right time. With hindsight, I think we were never going to finish higher than Fernando."

Sainz admitted to being surprised by the Scuderia's difficulties as he was under the impression that "we were making it better".

"This race kind of showed us that we still have some work to do," he acknowledged.

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