Setting a decent or as some may put it, not-too-bad 1:47:152 at the qualifying for the much anticipated and hugely popular Belgian Grand Prix, Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz is due to begin from fourth on the grid. In so doing, he is pursuing Lewis Hamilton, P3, in the famous Mercedes whilst being pursued by Oscar Piastri in what’s clearly been a rampant and recovering McLaren.
But ahead of what will likely be a wet weather dominated contest, Carlos Sainz will have to channelize his inner smooth operator mode in order to contest a strong race. His recent record at Belgium hasn’t really been terrible or anything of that sort.
And will it be any easy for the famous driver from Madrid? Just to note, Carlos Sainz jr. returns to the venue where, as of the last year, he had bagged a famous podium; courtesy a solid P3 drive, having begun second on the grid.
Although, truth be told, the only real difference this time around at Spa vis-a-vis his performance from the last year was that, for the better part of the qualifying battle in 2022, Sainz had been much faster than famous teammate Charles Leclerc. However, Leclerc has aced several on the grid including the original pole claimer at Spa-Francorchamps Max Verstappen whose five place grid drop thanks to a gearbox change has put the Monegasque on pole.
So interestingly with both Ferrari drivers slotting in the top five at the fastest F1 track on the calendar, the chances of Belgium witnessing a red-letter day are quite positive.
However, that’s not the only thing that’s keeping fans and onlookers on the tenterhooks ahead of the famous race at a venue considered as breathtaking as it is physically demanding of the drivers.
Ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix of 2023, news about Laurent Mekies departing from the Scuderia Ferrari camp too has bagged headlines.
How big an impact will the departure of Ferrari’s Racing Director Laurent Mekies have on the team and the further strategies, we will never quite know. But what’s known is that F1’s Smooth Operator isn’t too fazed by the big development.
So what did Carlos Sainz have to say about Ferrari’s staff changes ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix?
“Laurent was a very important figure in Ferrari over the last few years. He was a huge contributor to the team. I had a really good relationship with him, he was really proactive and very good to the team. We are very appreciative and that is probably why he has gone to a Team Principal role in another team because he was doing a good job for us. But the transition has been done already. He has been very helpful in helping Diego do the old job he was doing, so I am not concerned at all by the transition period because it has already been smooth enough.”
That being told, Sainz, whose not too close to teammate Leclerc prior to the start of the contest at Spa-Francorchamps will bear in mind the fact that he still leads the driver battle enjoying a seven-point advantage over the Monegasque. He may still hold on to the lead but in the absence of any podiums whatsoever, (which has been the case for Sainz in 2023), but for how much longer?