Sainz frustrated by Ferrari and misfortune
Carlos Sainz Jr will be nagged by the memory of the 2022 French Grand Prix for ever. It was clear he could have been in contention to win this race, but everything went against him. Engine usage penalties left him mired at the back of the grid, so in truth a victory was out before he’d begun. But a podium finish was more than realistic, given his obvious pace.
Starting on Pirelli’s hard tyre, Sainz picked his way through the midfield and was up to ninth by lap 17. Then Leclerc crashed, the safety car came out while the Ferrari was recovered, and Carlos joined the dash to pit. Then his team released him into the path of Alex Albon’s Williams, the Thai locking his brakes to avoid the red car – and Sainz was given a five-second penalty, through no fault of his own. Another setback.
Still, he got his head down and worked his way past the McLarens and Alpines, up into the top six and then on to the tail of George Russell. Naturally, it took a bit of time to pass the Mercedes, but he did so with a nice move at Signes, then zeroed in on Perez, who was lacking a bit of his recent spark at Paul Ricard. Their battle was the best of the race – but what on earth was happening on the Ferrari pitwall? Just as Carlos got the better of the Red Bull to take third place, his engineer called him into the pits. “Not now, not now,” snapped the Spaniard in understandable frustration. By this time there were 11 laps left. He’d been on his mediums since lap 18 and getting to the end was questionable. But wasn’t it a question worth asking? Instead, in he came for fresh yellow-walled tyres, took his five-second penalty, fought his way back up from ninth – and finished fifth. Exasperating.