Carlos Sainz says he hopes to hit the ground running in 2023 and challenge Red Bull and Max Verstappen from the off.
Ferrari had begun 2022 strongly, with Charles Leclerc winning two of the first three races to seize the initiative in both Drivers’ and Constructors’ title races.
However, those leads soon evaporated, as a cocktail of poor reliability, driver error and strategic errors saw Verstappen and Red Bull overhaul Sainz and Leclerc to seal both championships in convincing fashion.
Verstappen’s title win came despite retiring from two of the first three races with mechanical issues, and Sainz said the ease with which the Dutchman’s subsequently won the title came as a surprise.
"You never expect that, especially when you have a good car at the beginning," Sainz told Car and Driver.
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Sainz hoping for strong start to 2023
While Sainz scored his maiden Grand Prix win at Silverstone in mid-season, the Spaniard had struggled to match Leclerc's pace in the early rounds of 2022, after having outscored the Monegasque in 2021.
However, Sainz expressed confidence that he would be able to start 2023 strongly and take the fight to Verstappen and Red Bull.
"I now wish I had felt a little more comfortable at the beginning of the season, to make things a little more complicated for Max and together with Charles to fight a little more," said Sainz.
"My goal for next year is to start at the level I am at now, which is quite decent, and to complicate things for Max.
"We have another opportunity and I fully trust that the team will create another great car like this year's, and we will learn from the mistakes made this year.
"I'm ready to fight and I'm looking forward to fighting Mercedes too, as it looks like they will join us at the front."
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