Carlos Sainz: Ferrari's Imola upgrade was “overhyped” as pole challenge falters

Carlos Sainz feels that the media "overhyped" the impact of Ferrari's latest upgrade package ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Ferrari SF-24. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 7, Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Imola, Italy,
Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Ferrari SF-24. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 7,…

Carlos Sainz has accused the media of ‘overhyping’ Ferrari’s latest upgrade package as they struggled to challenge for pole position at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Sainz could only qualify fifth on the grid, one place behind Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc.

Leclerc was a couple of tenths shy of Max Verstappen’s benchmark as both Ferraris lost out considerably in the first part of the lap.

Ferrari introduced a significant upgrade package for Imola, leading to many media outlets tipping them to be a serious contender this weekend.

Leclerc looked like he was going to convert that hype into a strong result after topping the two Friday practice sessions.

However, Ferrari couldn’t match the pace of Verstappen or the Ferraris, settling for fourth and fifth.

Speaking after qualifying, Sainz wasn’t surprised by Ferrari’s turn of pace at Imola despite their upgrade.

“I don’t think the team had high hopes,” he said. “I think the media overhyped the upgrade package that we were bringing.

“We knew that in terms of when you look into it, it looks like a new car, but we knew the numbers, and the numbers weren’t a huge package. Very small details everywhere that we were expecting to help.

“I think when they did but when I looked at this track, it’s always been a McLaren track, a Red Bull track. Ferrari seem to struggle in the past here. It’s exactly what happened.”

Given Ferrari was losing big chunks of time through the opening sequence of corners, it was no surprise to hear that Sainz wants the team to focus on their areas of weakness.

“That is a good positive and another positive is we know exactly where are weakness is in these sorts of corners I was mentioning and now hopefully we can focus on upgrading the car to improve those weaknesses,” he added.

“Another thing we need to focus is the soft tyre, we have been a bit up and down this year with the soft tyre and that sector one, as I said, puzzled me a bit.”

Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari SF-24. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 7, Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Imola, Italy,
Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari SF-24. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 7,…

Leclerc was more disappointed than Sainz to see his chances of pole twindle, but he’s still aiming to challenge for the victory on Sunday.

“Yeah we cannot be fully happy of course, one thing that is good is that the upgrade is doing exactly what is expected,” he added. “That is always a good sign, on a track like this maybe we haven’t seen yet all the benefits of the upgrade and we came short of our target which was to be on pole position.

“Friday was strong, we always had the doubt of fuel levels and now there are no doubts about the fuel level in quali and we are a bit further away than what we thought, but my lap was good, I don’t think there was much more in it. I think in the race we are strong, however, on a track like this pole position is basically everything, especially with the reduces DRS it’ll be even more difficult to overtake tomorrow.

“It’s not going to be an easy race but we still should target the win and see where we end up from then.”

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