Carlos Sainz targets win at Spanish GP but needs to get one key element correct

Sainz banks on one lap pace to give him his second win of the F1 season as he heads back to the Iberian Peninsula for the 2024 Spanish GP

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Carlos Sainz is chasing a win at the Spanish GP but admits that qualifying will be key to Ferrari‘s success at the 2024 Spanish Grand Prix in the wake of a tight field between Red Bull, McLaren, Mercedes and the Italian team in recent Formula 1 weekends.

Around 0.350 separated Lewis Hamilton in seventh from pole position at the Circuit de Monaco on May 25 before the field closed up even more at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Canada with 0.103 being the difference between pole and fourth on the grid, whilst RB also got involved in the hunt too.

Sadly, for the Ferrari cars, they were dumped out in Q2 after failing to get on top of their set-up throughout the weekend, showing how a bad bit of form will harshly punish the front runners, so this is what Sainz appears to be most aware of as the F1 circus heads to the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona in Spain.

“From here, I expect a really tight field and I expect the hectic Q1 and Q2,” Sainz told members of the media, including Total-Motorsport.com, at the 2024 Spanish GP. “A bit like what we saw in Canada.

“I think the field is, like always at this stage of the year, getting tighter and the top four or five teams were all within one or two tenths. Behind us there’s only two or three times margin to the RB’s and to the Aston Martin’s.

“So, you cannot put a foot wrong like we saw in Canada. I was out in Q2 together with Charles [Leclerc], so it just shows how tight it is and how qualifying is fundamental.”

Carlos Sainz celebrating victory after Australian Grand Prix 2024 | Scuderia Ferrari Press Office
Carlos Sainz celebrating victory after Australian Grand Prix 2024 | Scuderia Ferrari Press Office

Can Sainz win the Spanish GP?

Red Bull have suffered in recent races by battling with kerbs and bumps around various street circuits, leaving them vulnerable to their competitors and even the midfield at times, but Barcelona has long been where they are expected to bounce back.

The traditional track, adorned with high-speed corners and long straights, is generally free from the bumps in asphalt and features less aggressive kerbs which should allow Max Verstappen’s RB20 to flourish once again at the 2024 Spanish GP.

If that turns out to be the case, the Dutchman could find himself 25 seconds ahead of the field once again like he did at the opener in Bahrain, although Sainz is hopeful for a different turn of events at his home race.

“I prefer to wait until Friday practice to really say how big that chance [of winning] is,” Sainz added to members of the press. “Because if we see the dominant Red Bull of Bahrain, the chances are very low.

“If we see a tight field, like in Imola, where we were a tenth or two off pole, or like in Miami with the McLaren‘s, or if we are dominating like Monaco, then it’s almost impossible to say right now.

“So given also other teams are bringing upgrades and the pecking order is probably going to change a little bit. I prefer to wait till Friday to really assess if we have a proper chance of winning.”

Brandon Sutton
Brandon is an alumni of an NCTJ and BJTC Liverpool John Moores University course, and has been with Total-Motorsport.com for over a year now. He enjoys covering all forms of motorsport but particularly focuses on Formula 1, and Brandon loves to debate various topics of the sport and other interests, especially if that topic doesn't have an open/shut answer such as the GOAT debate.
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