Autosport (UK)

Carlos Sainz

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Sainz also seems to do this subtle two-stage process but, before we declare this a Ferrari-determined trait, he also did it in his previous home at Mclaren, and Pierre Gasly also deploys this for Alpine. Sainz’s version is more progressiv­e – he winds the lock on more in quite a smooth way. Compared to Leclerc, Sainz loads up the front axle by turning in slightly earlier.

He wants a stable rear end, and that’s where his strength is. He’s also always chasing the front of the car – in a Jenson Buttonesqu­e way – and Sainz enters the corners always with a bit of understeer. Ultimately, over one lap, an understeer­ing car is never normally quicker. But if you can find the sweet spot of the balance – like Button used to, and Sainz did in Singapore to get pole last year – you can really extract performanc­e because it keeps the car balanced better. At tracks where the rear tyres start to overheat by the end of a lap, if you’re chasing the front end it’s really beneficial.

At places such as Monza, where Sainz was also brilliant in 2023, you must slightly underdrive. If drivers go charging in with low downforce, they just start sliding. And if Sainz gets a car with a stable rear end, as Ferrari had at Monza and Singapore last year to give him that controlled responsive­ness of the front, he’s able to get the rotation he wants and the lap times tumble.

A lot of this comes down to car aero platform and set-up, and Ferrari has a bit of a problem because, of its two drivers, one likes a car that’s edgy on entry, and the other one wants a car where he turns in and just wants the rear to be calm.

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