Carlos Sainz will learn to manage the pressure of being in a team fighting for wins and championships, Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto says after the Spaniard crashed in sprint qualifying at the Italian team’s home Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
Sainz, whose new contract keeping him with Ferrari until at least 2024 was announced this week, qualified 10th for the 100km race that decides the starting grid for Sunday’s main event at Imola.
Championship-leading team mate Charles Leclerc, winner of two of the first three races of the Formula One season, qualified on the front row after a rain-hit and crash-interrupted session.
“I don’t think there are issues. Certainly, he needs to adapt. He has done a couple of mistakes which are important,” Binotto told reporters when asked about Sainz’s performance.
“I think he is improving himself, he is going faster and faster,” added the Italian.
“When he went off, I think it was not the right time to push to the limit. He knows very well and I think that is the matter of managing the pressure.
“It is maybe the first time in his career that he has got a car that is fast enough to compete for the best positions.
“He simply needs to get used to that, but he will do it very quickly because I know how smart and how capable he is to manage the pressure.”
Sainz is third overall in the drivers’ championship but has scored only 33 points to Leclerc’s 71, with a best result of second in the Bahrain opener.
The Spaniard, who has previously raced for Toro Rosso (AlphaTauri), Renault and McLaren, failed to score at the previous race in Australia after spinning off following anti-stall problems at the start.
He has yet to win a race, but Ferrari are also leading the constructors’ championship and arrived in Imola as favourites to win the first of two home rounds.