Sainz rues ‘very disappointing’ end to season after finishing outside of points in Abu Dhabi GP
Carlos Sainz’s season did not end in the way he had hoped at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, with the Spaniard failing to score points following a difficult weekend at the Yas Marina Circuit.
The problems started for Sainz during Friday’s opening day of action when he suffered a crash in Free Practice 2, before then being eliminated in Q1 of Saturday evening’s qualifying session. This left him with plenty to do come race day, where he lined up in P16 on the grid.
As such, Ferrari opted to run an alternative strategy, leaving Sainz out on track in the hope of benefitting from a free pit stop should a Safety Car be deployed. Unfortunately for Sainz this didn’t happen, meaning that his late visit to the pits caused him to drop out of the points. He was ultimately classified as coming home in 18th.
When asked after the event if he was surprised by how his race had unfolded, Sainz responded: “Well, surprised mainly with the first stint. We were stuck on the hard tyre behind all our rivals, sliding a lot. Every time we’ve started this year on harder compounds it’s never worked for us, we never seem to make the progress that we expect.
“From there on, we were never looking for points, ready for points, so we left it out for a Safety Car that never came and lost the race there. There was also nothing really to fight for doing a normal race because we were clearly out of the points.”
The event marks a second challenging outing for Sainz following on from the Las Vegas Grand Prix, where he started from 12th on the grid and suffered a first-lap collision with Lewis Hamilton. He later stated that he was keen to “forget” the weekend.
There have been several high points for Sainz during the 2023 campaign, though – most notably his victory in Singapore, making him the only non-Red Bull driver to take a win this season.
Reflecting on how his year has unfolded, the Spanish driver said: “It’s been a very disappointing last two races, to be honest. Since that incident in Vegas it looked like our season for some reason ended there, and since then we haven’t really managed to recover the pace and the results and luck.
“We’ve had a lot of struggles in these last two races, unfortunately. We now need to analyse what we could have done better, why these things happened.
“At the same time, it’s been a season with very high highs, very good moments, and once the disappointment of these last two races goes away we will be able to reflect on more of a positive note.”
With Sainz ending the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix outside of the points, Ferrari were unable to beat Mercedes in the battle for P2 of the constructors’ championship, leaving the Scuderia three points back in third place.
In the drivers’ standings, Sainz finished the campaign in P7 on 200 points, five points behind Lando Norris in sixth and six points away from Fernando Alonso and Charles Leclerc in fourth and fifth respectively.