Sainz eyeing Ferrari race victory before end of 2023

Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Ferrari SF-23. 26.08.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 14, Dutch Grand Prix, Zandvoort, Netherlands, Qualifying Day. -, EMail: © Copyright: Bearne / XPB Images
© XPB 

Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz insists the team can still realistically target a race win in the remaining nine races of the season - and that he believes he's the man to serve it up for the Tifosi faithful.

So far Red Bull has taken every win in 2023, with 11 wins for Max Verstappen and a further two for his team mate Sergio Perez. Many believe that the squad could pull off an unprecedented whitewash of all this year's Grands Prix.

But despite Ferrari struggling in recent outings - with Charles Leclerc on the podium on just three occasions this year and Sainz himself not in the top three once so far - the Spaniard believes there's still time to turn things around.

“I don’t fully believe Max is going to win every weekend,” Sainz insisted last week. “I know you guys see it in a very drastic, dramatic way.

“Obviously I know what my chances or my probabilities are, but there’s still a probability that Ferrari can win a race this season and that I can be there to win it."

But Sainz was honest enough to know that if anyone is going to usurp Red Bull, it's going to take a stroke of luck. "I think no one’s perfect," he said. "Hopefully at some point during the season Red Bull makes a mistake.

“Max is driving at a very high level. He obviously also has a bit of margin to do a mistake here and there and still win the race. But he’s not doing any big mistakes.

“Red Bull is also not doing any mistakes, and unless proven otherwise they deserve to have the success they’re having," he accepted. “Congratulations and keep enjoying - but we will try to get better as soon as possible.

"They are beating us and they are dominating F1 in a fair and square way," he admitted. "Even in the most dominant years of Mercedes, of Red Bull, of Ferrari, there was always one race know that you could make a difference, or something could happen.

Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Ferrari SF-23 and Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari SF-23 battle for position. 27.08.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 14, Dutch Grand Prix, Zandvoort, Netherlands, Race Day. -, EMail: © Copyright: Coates / XPB Images

"I go into every weekend thinking I need to be there to grab it. That’s my mentality," he continued. “That’s my focus, trying to be there for any given opportunity.

"As a driver, you live - especially in these kind of years - you live a bit for that motivation, or that thinking. And if not I have plenty of motivation to fight for podiums, to fight for top fives."

Sainz heads into Ferrari's home race this weekend at Monza having completed 175 races in which he's amassed a total of three poles, 15 podiums and a maiden victory with Ferrari in the 2022 British Grand Prix.

Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Ferrari. 27.08.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 14, Dutch Grand Prix, Zandvoort, Netherlands, Race Day. -, EMail: © Copyright: Moy / XPB Images

“I love Formula 1. I love going to race every weekend with Ferrari," he said. "I love having the opportunity to also develop this year’s car, give the feedback and see the impact I can have on next year’s car.

"This is also what a driver lives for, and I love that challenge," he insisted. "I think that summarises everything!"

Sainz finished the Netherlands Grand Prix in fifth place while his team mate retired midway through with floor damage sustained from a first lap collision with Oscar Piastri.

The result meant that Sainz has moved ahead of Leclerc in the drivers standings. He is now in fifth place on 102 points, three ahead of the Monegasque who is tied with Mercedes driver George Russell, who also failed to score points at Zandvoort.

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