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Carlos Sainz

Sainz minimises hope for Red Bull title fight

Carlos Sainz believes Red Bull remain favourites across much of the F1 calendar, but is hopeful the period of domination is over.

Sainz Monaco
To news overview © XPBimages

Carlos Sainz has minimised Red Bull's recent struggles, arguing the constructors' champions "should still be favourites" on more conventional circuits. However, he hopes it will remain a "tight fight" at the front.

His Ferrari team-mate, Charles Leclerc, took a comfortable victory at the Monaco Grand Prix after a dominant home race weekend for the 26-year-old.

It was the third successive round in which Red Bull has lacked the all-conquering pace it enjoyed last season and into the early part of this year. This has prompted suggestions that F1 will have a three-way title fight on its hands between Ferrari, McLaren and the Milton Keynes outfit.

However, Sainz has moved to reduce expectations, stating he feels the the Max Verstappen-led team still has an advantage at more traditional venues - even if its period of domination appears over.

"I think my common sense tells me that on normal tracks Red Bull should still be favourites," he told media including RacingNews365 after the Monaco Grand Prix. 

"Domination, like we were seeing, hopefully not. But favourites, yes. And then it will be a very tight fight with both McLaren and us. I think we are all three at a very similar level."

'These things can happen to Red Bull too'

Monaco represents somewhat of an outlier to much of the early part of the F1 season. Many of the opening rounds are medium or high-speed, but the slow, twisty nature of Monte Carlo suits the Scuderia, whilst it exacerbated the increasingly apparent issues with the Red Bull RB20.

At the other end of the scale, McLaren has tended to be stronger at high-speed tracks, like Suzuka, in Japan.

However, starting at the Miami Grand Prix, the two chasing teams have taken a step towards Red Bull through comprehensive upgrades. The for both teams is that they can now be competitive at circuits with a broader range of characteristics.

"Our last reference of a normal track is Imola and Miami. And if I see those two tracks, we seem to be half a tenth behind McLaren and maybe a tenth or two behind Red Bull," Sainz explained.

"It still means that that any small progress, any small upgrade, any small thing that we bring to the car might switch it to a potential race victory or a winning car.

"Monaco, we've always been strong. Street circuits like Singapore and last year in Monaco, it shows the strengths of the Ferrari."

The 29-year-old did, however, acknowledge that the small gap between the Italian team and Red Bull would make the champions more susceptible to making errors.

"At the same time, being within 24 points of the Red Bull in the constructors', you see that when you put them under pressure yesterday [in qualifying], Max did a mistake in Q3 run two, Checo [Sergio Perez] was out in Q1. 

"We all just need to be there, you know, to show that these things can happen to Red Bull too. And yesterday is the best example."

Also interesting:

Is Ocon's future now in danger after the incident in Monaco? And has the track become too outdated for F1? In the latest episode of the RacingNews365.com podcast, Ian Parkes, Samuel Coop and Nick Golding look back at last weekend's Monaco Grand Prix. Tune in below!

Rather watch than listen to the podcast? Click here.

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