Tifosi worldwide rejoiced to see Carlos Sainz put Ferrari back on the podium at the Monaco Grand Prix after an eye-catchingly strong weekend for the Scuderia. But both Sainz and Team Principal Mattia Binotto warned that, despite Ferrari’s upward trajectory, securing more podiums this season was far from a foregone conclusion.
Sainz drove an excellent race in Monaco to finish P2 behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, while Ferrari might have secured a double podium had a crash in qualifying for Charles Leclerc not caused the polesitter to ultimately fail to take the start of the Monaco Grand Prix, after a crack was discovered in his driveshaft hub.
But while he had revelled in the Scuderia’s Monaco pace, Sainz said that Ferrari’s uncertainties about when they’d next be in a position to challenge for wins and poles also made the weekend “a tough one to swallow”.
“We need to take pride in the steps forward that we’ve done, and how competitive the car has been this weekend,” said Sainz. “It’s not easy to be quick around Monaco and the fact that both Charles and me were quick is down to the good performance of the team and how everything has been working.
“Mercedes and Red Bull, I believe they still have an advantage on us and it will be very tricky to find ourselves fighting for pole positions or a win,” Sainz added. “That’s why this weekend is also a bit of a tough one to swallow, as you don’t know when the next chance will come.”
With the Ferraris having demonstrated strong pace both in Barcelona’s slow-speed, downforce-rewarding Sector 3 and also across the whole weekend in Monaco, there were some who felt that the team could be competitive at the Hungaroring, a low-speed circuit where teams run high-downforce aerodynamic packages – with the Hungarian Grand Prix due to take place this year on August 1.
But asked if and when he next expected Ferrari to repeat their Monaco podium heroics this season, Sainz was non-committal.
“Look at the characteristics of the Monaco circuit and try and see which ones are closest to this – you will not find many,” said Sainz. “Even those circuits that I’m sure you are thinking of, the same as me, it doesn’t mean that we are going to be fighting for pole or fighting for a podium [there].”
Binotto, meanwhile, agreed with Sainz’s outlook when asked specifically if the Hungaroring would provide an opportunity for Ferrari.
“I think my answer is very similar to Carlos’,” said Binotto. “Yes, there will be circuits with low-speed corners where we could be competitive but it’s not a given. Now, instead of thinking which circuit we will be competitive at, we are already focussed on Baku, on the next one.”