Carlos Sainz says he has “some very interesting theories” about his early performance deficit over Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc in 2022.
Sainz was in the mix for pole position but fell a tenth behind Leclerc in the closing stages of Q3 and was unable to keep in touch with Leclerc and Max Verstappen in the race.
Sainz was poised to finish third before being promoted to second late on when Verstappen slowed and eventually retired over a suspected fuel pump problem.
“I mean I was right there in qualifying fighting for pole and that was good news for me because of the lack of feeling I have with this car and the lack of understanding I have,” said Sainz.
“It was good news to be able to do a couple of very strong laps in qualifying, which almost got me pole.
“But the fact is that I still have to work on the set-up, I have to work on understanding the car.
“I’ve been doing my analysis with my guys over these three days and we’ve had some very interesting theories and some very interesting things to try here.
“I don’t think it’s just about one race. A bit like last year, right? Bit by bit hack it away and get there.
“But we also need more rehearsals. I don’t know if Bahrain was a bit unique and suddenly here [in Jeddah] I’m back where I should be or where I expect to be. Let’s see. It is still early.”
Sainz believes the high-speed nature of the Jeddah Corniche Circuit will highlight any limitations he still feels with Ferrari’s F1-75.
“I think the more time I spend in the car, the quicker I’ll find out and the more chance I have to tune the car a little more to my liking,” he said.
“It will be an important test because it is a track with very high confidence. You need confidence to be fast and close to the walls here and it will show and tell me how confident I am.”