Carlos Sainz was racing for a podium in the first stint of the 2023 Miami Grand Prix but the Ferrari‘s treatment of its tyres saw the Spaniard fall to P5 at the chequered flag.
Sainz was keeping pace with Aston Martin‘s Fernando Alonso in the opening exchanges, as the Ferrari enjoyed the medium tyres but he could not get close enough to make a move on his compatriot.
As the pit stops drew closer, Ferrari attempted to undercut the Aston Martin, and successfully managed to do so, but could not hold on to the position as Sainz slipped to fourth and then to fifth behind Mercedes‘ George Russell.
“We tried the undercut on Fernando [Alonso] which did work.” Sainz said to the media. “But it meant pushing the tyres for three our four laps to get the undercut.
“For some reason with our car right now, we have zero flexibility with how much we can push.
“I had to stay under the limit for the rest of the race if I wanted to make it to the end.”
The Spanish driver also cited the wind as an issue that contributed to the loss of pace on the hard tyre, pushing the SF-23 over its limit.
“I’ve really tried today, it was just very very tough for us at Ferrari.” Sainz told reporters.
“At the moment I cannot push, especially in the race. As soon as you push one lap, you do a good fast lap and then the next lap you’re three tenths slower.”
“We don’t have flexibility to push and push, and we just need to follow a certain pace if we need to make it to the end.”
Ferrari tyre issues
Ferrari‘s struggles with tyre degradation have been very public since the 2022 season. The car is known for switching on the tyres excellently in qualifying, but then suffering greater degradation than their rivals in the races.
And it appears that the Maranello team is yet to solve that problem. For his teammate, Charles Leclerc, it was a similar story in Miami.
He found himself unable to decisively get past the Haas of Kevin Magnussen, before he himself was caught and overtaken by the other Mercedes driven by Lewis Hamilton.