Carlos Sainz has explained why he isn't enjoying his battles with Fernando Alonso in 2023 after another duel between the two in Miami.
In the first stint of the race, Sainz was locked in a fight with his fellow Spaniard for third place. Alonso ultimately went on to claim the position while Sainz slipped backwards during his second stint, eventually ending the event in P5.
While Sainz was pleased to experience better form than at the previous race weekend in Azerbaijan – a track that he deemed an "outlier" – the Ferrari driver admits that he could not be pleased with his final result in Miami after trying to undercut Alonso.
Sainz: The pace dropped massively after first stint
"I don't think we can be happy, especially after fighting for the podium in the first stint," Sainz told the F1 Nation podcast.
"We were looking to undercut Fernando, the pace was really good on the Medium [tyre]. We were on for a podium and then, suddenly, it was [different when we] put the Hards on. [I had] to go through some traffic [and got] some dirt in my tyres.
"From there, the pace dropped massively and we went back a bit to reality, which is [that] at the moment we are not quick enough in the race, and with the long stints on harder compounds, we tend to struggle more than the others."
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Battles with Alonso
On a positive note, Sainz feels that he was one of the stronger performers on the Medium tyre, particularly during his fight with Alonso.
"I think everyone struggled [on the Medium tyre] but, out of everyone, I was the one who struggled the least because I was, [for] the whole stint, [with] Fernando applying pressure," the Spaniard said.
"And actually I was about to pass him when they called us in, but I felt like I had plenty of pace in that tyre for some reason."
When asked if he was enjoying his seemingly frequent scraps with Alonso during recent races, Sainz responded: "No, because I always feel like I'm looking in the mirror more than [normal].
"It is true that normally the Ferrari tends to qualify a bit better than the Aston [Martin], but they are still – in the races – faster.
"Fernando in the race, together with Aston, they are very competitive, which means they have better tyre management and I tend to always have to defend from him."
Balve Bains is joined by RacingNews365.com Editorial Director Dieter Rencken and Asia Correspondent Michael Butterworth to dissect the key talking points from the Miami Grand Prix.