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Formula 1 Austrian GP

Sainz expects more competitive Ferrari F1 car for Austrian GP

Ferrari hopes the Red Bull Ring suits its Formula 1 car better after being fourth in the pecking order in Spain

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-24, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-24

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-24, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-24

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

Ferrari Formula 1 driver Carlos Sainz expects his team to be more competitive in Austria after seeing a key car weakness punished in Spain.

Sainz and team-mate Charles Leclerc qualified on the third row in Barcelona, behind both Mercedes cars and front-row duo Lando Norris (McLaren) and Max Verstappen (Red Bull).

Its race pace wasn't too different, with both drivers unable to get ahead of the Mercedes duo despite trying to split tyre strategies, finishing in the same position they started.

Sainz admitted Ferrari was fourth-fastest in his home race, but said Barcelona's layout punished Ferrari's long corner weakness more than other circuits will do, and is therefore expecting to be more competitive this weekend at the Red Bull Ring.

"It was not our best weekend, but this was the track where we struggled the most last year too," Sainz said.

"So that's our hope, that it's just a [bad] track for us and that there will be other tracks where we will be a bit more competitive.

"It's the high-speed nature of the track and the long, combined [corners], we seem to be always struggling when it's long corners like China, here or Suzuka.

"I remember Austria not being an issue for track characteristics, so I think we will be more competitive because of the corner types."

Carlos Sainz, Scuderia Ferrari, Charles Leclerc, Scuderia Ferrari, in parc ferme

Carlos Sainz, Scuderia Ferrari, Charles Leclerc, Scuderia Ferrari, in parc ferme

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

Team boss Fred Vasseur felt that Barcelona's pecking order didn't necessarily set a trend for the remaining races before the summer break, with the tight margins between the top four teams causing bigger fluctuations than in previous years.

"The order is changing because in the last four weekends you have four different teams doing pole position," he said.

"We didn't change the car massively, which means it is more relative to the track layout, to the compounds, to being in the temperature window.

"Before drawing conclusions, we have to stay calm, we have to go event by event and [in Austria] it will be a completely different format, different Tarmac, different type of corners also and probably the picture will be completely different next week.

"Nothing is forever in F1 today and it means it is not crystal clear that one team is better than the other."

Vasseur said Ferrari particularly fell short in Barcelona qualifying, with the team needing to dig deeper into how to keep the SF-24 in the right tyre window throughout a single lap.

"The most important thing in Barcelona is to keep the potential of the tyres all over the lap in different corners," he explained.

"Probably we missed something on this because we were two tenths off. 

"But with 14 corners in Barcelona, we are not losing one hundredth per corner. We lost two times one tenth per lap and the rest of the lap was a copy-paste of Lando."

Additional reporting by Jonathan Noble

Watch: Spanish GP Race Analysis - Why F1's "Fastest Car" Couldn't Beat Verstappen

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