Carlos Sainz explains Ferrari’s head-scratching Abu Dhabi GP strategy

Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz finished outside the points in the 2023 Abu Dhabi GP

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Carlos Sainz said Ferrari took a shot to nothing with his strategy at the 2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, after he qualified 16th and finished outside the points at the Yas Marina finale.

Sainz blamed traffic for his Q1 exit as a front-wing problem meant he was last out of the pitlane, and he took hard tyres for his first two stints in the grand prix.

Ferrari needed a strong performance to outscore Mercedes by four points and claim second-place in the constructors’ championship, but Sainz‘s failure to score meant Charles Leclerc‘s hard-fought second-place counted for nothing.

“We started on the hards expecting to do a one-stop,” Sainz told the press. “But like we’ve seen many times this year whenever we started on harder compounds we struggled a lot because again today.

“We had nothing to lose P16 and we gave it a go but again it didn’t work for us and then once we saw that we had very little chance of scoring points we left it out for safety car and it didn’t work out.” 

Sainz rues consecutive disappointing weekends

Carlos Sainz enters turn 14 in free practice for the 2023 Las Vegas GP | Ferrari Spa

Sainz has endured a difficult past fortnight, having also faced frustration in Las Vegas a week before Abu Dhabi.

His car was damaged by a poorly-fitted manhole cover that fired into the Ferrari SF-23 just nine minutes into FP1. That meant he needed another energy store, which took him past the allowed allocation of the component for the season.

“Yeah the last two weekends haven’t gone like I expected or like we wanted to finish the year,” Sainz added. “Honestly very disappointed and obviously not happy given how close it was in the end with the constructors’ championship.

“But we’re going to have to sit down and analyse and see what we could have done better today and what was going on because clearly the pace this weekend and the overall feeling with the car and everything was good.”

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