Sainz has struggled in the early races of 2022 compared to teammate Charles Leclerc, finding it difficult to get the most out of the fast car that Scuderia has designed for the new regulations.
Retirements in Saudi Arabia, Imola and Azerbaijan pushed the Spaniard back down again as they limited his seat time and prevented him from gaining momentum.
At the Canadian Grand Prix on Sunday, Sainz was the fastest man on the track as winner Max Verstappen chased up the checkered flag.
While Sainz was disappointed by the loss to world champion Red Bull as he continues to wait for his first victory in F1, he said the weekend in Montreal was a step forward for him as he feels more comfortable pushing F1-75 to his limits, saying “he hasn’t left an inch”. on the walls” trying to find a way to bypass Verstappen.
When asked later on Sunday if he now feels he can challenge Verstappen and Leclerc on a regular basis, Sainz said: “Well, I hope so, but like I said a few races ago, I want to run it a little bit more by race, you know. Don’t think too much about the championship or anything like that.
“I really want to focus on getting to a track and seeing if I can put myself in a good window of performance and comfort in the car. I think I did that this weekend, since FP1 looked really fast, both in qualifying and race speed.
“In the race I was pushing hard without any fear of losing the car, as I did, for example, in Barcelona.
“Some good progress is being made; we’ve changed a few things on the car to try and make it more convenient for me, and it seems to be working.
“But at the same time, I think I need more circles, and I need more different kinds of angles to get a proper feel for it.”
Carlos Sainz Ferrari F1-75
Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto believes Sainz has shown he can now be a regular contender to win the race, and said it is important for Sainz to show the team can count on him while Red Bull battles for the constructors’ title.
“It’s been a very good race, and I think he’s gaining confidence to race, improving his driving, being faster, faster and being happy, more relaxed,” added Binotto.
“I’m sure he will prove in the next races now that he’s competitive too, to win one race. I’m very happy with the way he drove and it’s important for us like the Scuderia that we can count on him as well, knowing he can be very fast.”
Binotto singled out qualifying as an area to improve for Sainz, qualifying behind Verstappen and Alpine Fernando Alonso in the second row.
Aside from Montreal, where Leclerc received a netted penalty, Sainz has been beaten by his teammate in every qualifying session so far this year.
“To win such a tough fight with Red Bull and Max, you have to be perfect all weekend,” Binotto added. “And if anything, maybe qualifying wasn’t perfect from Carlos. It cost him a bit maybe because getting ahead or chasing is definitely a different thing.”