Sainz says Red Bull finally starting to feel pressure

Carlos Sainz believes Red Bull is still the favorite to win both the drivers’ and constructors’ championships but is unlikely to enjoy dominance at most tracks heading into the Canadian Grand Prix.

Charles Leclerc won the last race in Monaco to back up Lando Norris’ victory in Miami either side of a Max Verstappen success in Imola, with three particularly competitive races increasing interest in the title fight. Sainz was third in Monaco behind Oscar Piastri to help Ferrari close the gap in the constructors’ championship to just 24 points, and he believes there are now fine margins albeit with Red Bull still holding an advantage.

“I think my common sense tells me that on normal tracks Red Bull should still be favorites,” Sainz said. “Domination, like we were seeing, hopefully not. But favorites, yes. And then it will be a very tight fight with both McLaren and us. I think we are all three at a very similar level.


“Our last reference of a normal track is Imola and Miami. And those two tracks, we seem to be half a tenth behind McLaren and maybe a tenth or two behind Red Bull. It still means that that any small progress, any small upgrade, any small thing that we bring to the car might switch it to a potential race victory or a winning car.

“Monaco, we’ve always been strong. Street circuits like Singapore and last year in Monaco, it shows the strengths of the Ferrari. At the same time, being within 24 points of the Red Bull in the constructors’, you see that when you put them under pressure, [in Monaco] Max did a mistake in Q3 run two, Checo [Perez] was out in Q1. We all just need to be there, you know, to show that these things can happen to Red Bull too.”

Although he’s uncertain about how the three teams will stack up in Montreal this weekend, Sainz is expecting the European rounds to be different compared to the opening few races when Red Bull had a comfortable advantage over the rest of the field.

“I think as Ferrari we will have our opportunities in these sort of tracks. McLaren will have their opportunities, but when I talk about a normal track we can talk about maybe a Barcelona. Canada, I think is quite specific but a Barcelona or any European track, where I consider it to be a normal track, I still think Red Bull will be favorites, but I don’t think they’ll dominate like they used to do.

“I think that’s good news for the championship. It’s just worth being within a tenth or two in qualifying, that even if they’re favorites, they cannot afford to do any mistakes. That’s where both Ferrari and McLaren, we can capitalize, which is a position that in Bahrain — race one — no one was.”

Story originally appeared on Racer