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Sainz trying to blank out Ferrari F1 2022 ‘hype’

Carlos Sainz Jr says he is trying not to believe the ‘hype’ surrounding Ferrari, ahead of this weekend's Formula 1 season opener in Bahrain.

Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari

Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari

Carl Bingham / Motorsport Images

Off the back of an encouraging two pre-season tests for Ferrari, the Italian outfit has been widely tipped to start the campaign fighting with Red Bull and Mercedes for victory.

But the team has been eager to play down expectations, even though there have been some more optimistic noises coming out of Maranello in recent days.

Speaking at the Sakhir circuit on Thursday, Sainz said he did not want to get too excited just yet – but accepted that his views could change if the team's strong form carries through practice.

Asked by Autosport if he felt Ferrari sensed the chance of the win, Sainz said: “Not really, because you still don't want to believe it completely.

“In your mind you want to come in here ready to fight for a win, because as a driver you want to be ready, but also not trying to believe too much the hype around us.

“I'm ready for whatever comes because I've been preparing myself obviously for this weekend for a while. But maybe a bit more after FP1, FP2, FP3, I start putting my expectation somewhere higher or lower.”

Ferrari expects Red Bull to be the favourite for Bahrain

Ferrari expects Red Bull to be the favourite for Bahrain

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto offered the most optimistic assessment yet of the team’s chances earlier this week when he suggested his outfit could be just in front or just behind Red Bull this weekend.

However, Charles Leclerc, who has praised the preparations that Ferrari has made, thinks it is Red Bull that holds the advantage right now.

“I’m maybe a bit more pessimistic,” he said about Binotto's views. “I feel we are still a bit behind Red Bull.

“I don’t think we are speaking about a second like it was last year, or even more the year before. I feel it’s going to be closer for sure, and this is already a good sign.

“But I still think they are the favourites. So we need to work as much as we can tomorrow to maximise the day and be as ready as possible for Saturday, and hopefully we’ll be fighting for the win. But I still see ourselves a bit behind Red Bull.”

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But while unsure of the ultimate competitiveness of the Ferrari, Leclerc said the team had plenty of reasons to be happy with what it has done this winter.

“I think we are actually very well prepared,” he said. “All the tests that we wanted to do during this winter testing have been done.

“We didn’t have any major issues, which is very important. I think this is the main reason for which we have a smile on our face after this test.

“Not for the competitiveness because for this, we don’t know yet, but for the reliability, for not having any problems and for working well overall as a team.”

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