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Sainz addresses Ferrari's 'surprising' deficit to Red Bull and Mercedes

After a dominant start to the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend, Ferrari lost out to Red Bull and Mercedes as the weather conditions changed.

Carlos Sainz has admitted that Red Bull and Mercedes leapfrogging Ferrari as the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend developed came as a "surprise" to the team. Ferrari completed a clean sweep of Friday's practice sessions at the Hungaroring in hot conditions, but lost their advantage when rain arrived and temperatures cooled. Sainz and teammate Charles Leclerc had to settle for second and third in qualifying, behind the Mercedes of George Russell, with Leclerc describing "massive struggles" to get his tyres working in the much-changed conditions. As for the race, Leclerc's recovery charge became a lowly sixth-place finish after a questionable switch to Hard tyres, despite the difference in temperatures, while Sainz salvaged fourth – behind Max Verstappen's Red Bull and both Silver Arrows.

Sainz: We need to be honest with ourselves

Speaking to media, including RacingNews365.com , Sainz stated that missing out on a podium finish after such a strong start to the weekend came as a shock. "It was definitely a bit of a surprise for us, because we were coming from dominating on Friday," he commented. "We had mega pace on a hot track. We were clear on pace to everyone else. "All of a sudden, Verstappen and [Lewis] Hamilton were flying [in the race], and we didn't have the pace of Verstappen and Hamilton. "We need to be honest with ourselves and analyse why, in these conditions, our car was not working very well, and we have to be better next time."

Sainz expects Ferrari to "come back strong"

Sainz added that Ferrari would "regroup" and "analyse" over the summer break in a bid to understand their issues and fight back. "I think [in the race] clearly there was something on the conditions that didn't help us," he reiterated. "Already [on Saturday] we took a step backwards [from Friday] and we were not on pole, and [in the race] we took another step backwards, so I think there was something [wrong] on the car. "We need to regroup, analyse what we can do better in these conditions, and I'm sure we will come back strong."

RESULTS 2024 F1 Chinese Grand Prix - Sprint Shootout